Here’s how much slower Canadian data is for visitors compared to residents

Roaming visitors in Canada may see a difference of up to nearly 10Mbps

If you’ve ever roamed in another country, you’ve likely picked up on the fact that your data is slower than most residents of that location.

The same is true in Canada.

A recent chart published by Victoria-based mobile measurement firm Tutela shows just how much slower speeds are for visitors than it is for you on Canada’s three largest wireless networks.

Tutela gains its info from tests run in the background of over 3,000 popular apps and games on both Android and iOS. Tutela pays the apps to put its software there, and users get a pop-up to ask if they want to allow access to the company.

This particular chart was built off of 35,254 download speed tests (using 2MB files) taken during May from Canadians and visitors to Canada.

In its chart on speeds for visitors versus residents, Tutela tested speeds for those roaming on the networks of Bell, Rogers and Telus, versus the speeds of customers on those networks. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Bell — resident 20.9Mbps, visitor 11.7Mbps
  • Telus — resident 19.9Mbps, visitor 11.2Mbps
  • Rogrs — resident 16.2Mbps, visitor 8.7Mbps

For those wondering why this might be the case, Tutela’s vice-president of sales Tom Luke offered potential explanations.

“Some networks will slow down visitors because they want to prioritize their own customers,” he told MobileSyrup in an interview.

Additionally, Luke stated that sometimes data is routed inefficiently, bouncing back and forth between servers in the user’s home country and travel location rather than taking a direct path.

MobileSyrup has reached out to Rogers, Bell and Telus for comment.

In addition to the visitor versus resident speed comparison, Tutela recently released a March 1st to May 31st Mobile Experience Report that once again indicates Bell is the overall leader for 4G and 3G network speed.

Tutela tested speed using a 2MB file download and 1MB file upload.

Meanwhile, Freedom Mobile ranks surprisingly high when it comes to upload speed tests in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, ranking either highest or second-highest in those three provinces.

In Ontario, for instance, with a speed test for a 1MB file upload, the carrier was just behind top-ranked Bell with 10.43Mbps to Bell’s 10.47Mbps on 4G.

Tutela’s largest number of records in its data set for Rogers (which makes sense as it’s Canada’s largest carrier by subscriber count), with 19.5 million. The carrier with the lowest number of records in its data set is SaskTel.

The company’s formula for ranking accounted for scale, and is shown in the image below.

According to Tutela, for this Canada-only report it took 3.54 billion measurements, including 290,000 speed tests and 19.3 million response tests.