Compare Canadian Coverage Maps from All Carriers
Still, they aren’t the only options Canadians have when it comes to cell phone coverage. There are several smaller regional carriers that can be found all over the country. They partner with The Big Three to provide Canada-wide roaming services.
here are plenty of options for Canadians when it comes to choosing a cell phone plan, no matter where they live. It is especially important to check a company’s coverage map before choosing a plan. With different regional partnerships in the country, the name on a cell phone bill may not be the same company providing the mobile network.
A bit of research will go a long way to ensuring you stay connected wherever you travel.
Canada’s Mobile Coverage Map
Canada is the world’s second largest country by area, and all that space leaves cell phone coverage stretched pretty thin. Less than 30 percent of Canada’s geographic area is covered by Bell, Rogers, or TELUS.
Much of the Canadian landscape is sparsely populated, and those areas tend to have less service. However, 99% of the country’s biggest cities are covered by the major networks.
On top of the Big Three, Canadians can choose from several smaller providers. These include Fido, Koodo, and Virgin Mobile, which operate on the Rogers, TELUS, and Bell networks, respectively (There are also several independent service providers across the country, including 7-Eleven, SpeakOut, and Petro-Canada Mobile). When smaller companies partner with the Big Three, it gives their customers access to the same coverage as their parent companies.
There are also regional options for Canadian cell phone coverage like Freedom Mobile, SaskTel, Videotron, and MTS. Each of these companies offer coverage in particular areas on Canada, and may not work as well outside of those designated regions. For this reason, it’s important to check coverage and roaming limitations before choosing a plan.
Many cell phone companies in Canada offer roaming, which broadens coverage even farther by allowing users to jump onto another network when they’re out of their primary coverage area.
While only a third of Canada has cell phone coverage, it’s present where it counts.
Bell Coverage Map
When it comes to customers reached, Bell’s coverage map is the biggest in Canada. Its mobile network alone covers 99% of the Canadian population. Bell also has Canada’s largest 4G network, meaning customers are unlikely to fall back to 3G coverage.
Most of Bell’s coverage focuses on Canada’s major urban centres: every big city in the country is blanketed by the network. Alberta and Saskatchewan are particularly well-represented by Bell’s coverage.
Outside of their cell phone network, Bell also has customers covered with more than 4,000 Wifi hotspots across the country. The company’s wireless signal can be found in every province, although more remote areas have little to no coverage.
There are no national roaming options for Bell, though several international roaming plans are available. Fortunately, Bell’s broad coverage means that customers are unlikely to need access to another network.
TELUS Coverage Map
Something many Canadians may not realize is that Bell and TELUS use the same cell phone towers across the country. That means TELUS’ coverage also reaches every province, every urban area in Canada, and 99% of the population.
TELUS’ Mobility network typically performs slightly faster than Bell’s, so TELUS has a reputation for reliability.
TELUS covers 28.8% of Canada by area –the same as Bell and nearly 10 percent higher than Rogers.
Unlike Bell, TELUS also offers some domestic roaming capabilities. A roaming pass can be included as an add-on, allowing users to roam, free of charge, for up to 30 days after purchase.
Rogers Coverage Map
Rogers’ network covers less than 20% of Canada by area but but reaches 97 percent of the country’s population, thanks to prominent placement in all major urban centers. Its biggest weak point is its limited coverage in the country’s less densely populated provinces, namely the Maritimes and the Territories.
While Rogers was a 3G network trailblazer, the company has fallen a bit behind in recent years. It still boasts a robust nationwide LTE network, but some customers in less-populated areas may still be connecting to the company’s older 3G infrastructure. Fortunately, their new 5G network is under development.
Rogers only offers roaming options for international travel. Rogers shares its coverage map with several smaller carriers, including Fido, Chatr, and Cityfone. This gives customers a wider range of options when it comes to price or plans.
Freedom Mobile Coverage Map
A subsidiary Shaw Communications, Freedom Mobile has a more limited service range than its competitors. The provider is good in Vancouver and flourishes in typically hard-to-reach areas of British Columbia. Freedom Mobile’s coverage map also expands to Southern Ontario and Alberta.
Nearly 30 percent of the Canadian population has access to Freedom Mobile’s network, even though the company covers less than 1% of Canada by area.
Between its primary coverage zones, the company relies heavily on partner networks for roaming. In fact, the concept of roaming is such a major selling point that most cell phone plans include roaming charge allowances.
Freedom Mobile is branching out with a few special coverage including a new spectrum channel that allows their signal to penetrate concrete buildings so long as users have a compatible phone. Unfortunately, the company is regularly ranked at the bottom of the nation when it comes to network reliability.
SaskTel Coverage Map
It’s all in the name: SaskTel’s coverage is the best in Saskatchewan, covering 57% of the province by area. In fact, SaskTel is the number one cell phone coverage provider in Saskatchewan—even beating out heavy hitters Bell and TELUS. The province’s most populous cities, Regina and Saskatoon, have nearly 100% coverage.
Sasktel really shines in rural areas, where the company’s network offers the only cell phone service in town. Roaming options are available for out-of-country traveling. Customers who wander outside the SaskTel network — or, essentially, outside of Saskatchewan — will still receive nationwide coverage on SaskTel’s partner networks.
Videotron Coverage Map
Videotron is a regional carrier that offers service throughout Quebec. Videotron’s coverage makes a strong impression along the St. Lawrence, where an overwhelming majority of the province’s population resides.
The Videotron coverage map extends through about 6% of Quebec by area; however, it’s typically outpaced in remote areas by larger networks like Bell and TELUS.
Videotron plans can be used across the country at no additional roaming cost.
BellMTS Coverage Map
MTS was the regional phone plan kingpin for Manitoba, but the company was acquired by Bell in 2017 and renamed BellMTS. This gave their network a significant boost, stretching it across the same ground covered by Bell. The company now shares all the same pros and cons as Bell: strong network coverage across nearly all of Canada, with service reaching 99% of the population. Like Bell, BellMTS lacks a domestic roaming service, so calls made outside of their coverage area are expensive.