Telus Sues Rogers Over False Advertising

These two are like brothers fighting over toys.

This morning, Telus filed legal action against Rogers for misleading advertisements claiming that Rogers is “Canada’s fastest network”. Rogers has been running these ads, along with another one whose slogan is “Canada’s fastest network: two times faster than any other” since 2007. We have seen them all over television and billboards, but now Telus says they are false!

With the launch of the Telus HSPA+ network, which matches network speeds with Rogers of up to 21Mbps, Telus may have a point here. Rogers may no longer be the fastest network in Canada and Telus seeks to prove it. Since both carriers have equal speeds in theoretical tests, both Rogers and Telus may have the same network speeds. Point: Telus.

Reliability?

However, Telus is also claiming that another Rogers advertsiement is false, in which Rogers states that they have “Canada’s most reliable network”. Telus claims this is false since the Telus HSPA+ launch. While Telus may have had a point with the speed, I think they lose here.

I recently had the chance to stress test a Telus iPhone 3GS and I found something amazing. As Telus/Bell iPhone customers are probably just finding out now, when your reception on your Telus/Bell device drops off 3G, you have a dead phone. No internet, no SMS, no emails, nothing. I had a Rogers iPhone 3GS and Telus iPhone 3GS side by side and the Rogers iPhone was still connected to EDGE (slow, but functional) where Telus was connected to “No Service”. How could that be?

This happens because, unlike Rogers, Telus/Bell do not have a GSM foundation built under their HSPA+ network. To make this easy to understand, I will make a text hierarchy:

Rogers/Fido

  • Perfect signal, fastest browsing, connected calls: 3G
  • Reception decent, slow browsing, connected calls: EDGE (E symbol on iPhone)
  • Reception decent, no browsing, connected calls: GPRS (“o” symbol on iPhone)

Telus/Bell

  • Perfect signal, fastest browsing, connected calls: 3G
  • Reception decent, slow browsing, connected calls: N/A
  • Reception decent, no browsing, connected calls: N/A

What does this mean? Well it’s simple.

Drop off 3G with Telus/Bell and you have an iPod Touch. Don’t believe me? Take your Telus/Bell iPhone and do the following on the device:

  • Settings > General > Network > Turn OFF 3G.

The Verdict

While Telus/Bell may have a new network, it is definitely NOT the most reliable. There will be areas in which the Telus/Bell network will lose signal, no matter how good their network coverage is. The same goes for Rogers.

The difference here is when a Rogers iPhone loses 3G signal, it drops to EDGE and continues to sit on its GSM foundation and be a usable, functional device. When a Telus/Bell iPhone lose 3G, those iPhone’s lose all signal. I cannot imagine how a business customer would deal with this, let alone regular customers.

So Telus may have a point in the Rogers/Telus lawsuit that Rogers is no longer the fastest network (both carriers are the same now), but Rogers (and Fido) are still definitely Canada’s most reliable network. Telus: -1  Rogers: +1

Thoughts?

4 carriers

[The Global and Mail]

Reports on iPhone news, reviews apps and accessories. Also an armed ninja with an iPhone 4S.

  • rorypiper

    I am definitely curious to know what kind of speeds Telus customers are getting.

    Anyone reading this have a Telus iPhone? Download the Speedtest.net app, from the App Store (it's free), do a speed test, and post your results here.

    I know my Rogers 3G speeds are always terrible. Ususally lees the 1MBps.

  • NoOneCares

    Bell/Telus are both advertising Canada's Fastest network as well. I'd say the only thing Rogers would have to do is drop the “twice as fast” part. They can still say they are fastest as long as no-one is faster…
    When Bell started advertising as Canada's most reliable network I really had to wonder how they could possibly justify that claim for a network that was only days old.

  • davewdaniels

    i am on fido and i have gotten 3G signals as high as 3.4 mb/s. I just tried it now and i got 1.8. (this is all according to the speed test app.)

  • Lee

    Um where exactly are you where you have it drop off 3G and go to Edge? I have a Telus iPhone I've never once had it drop off, I've had it since launch date as well. I find the HSPA+ network WAY better, I can now use my phone in my parking garage and in my elevator all the way. I can see it maybe being an issue for people in the middle of no where dropping off 3G but in Toronto or major cities when does that ever happen??

  • Lee

    Just one other point as well, Telus's entire network is 3G now meaning all existing towers are now 3G so I don't see why it's such an issue. With Rogers all their towers are EDGE but some are HSPA+. If Telus went to every single tower they own and added a 3G system to it, then how would it even be possible for it to drop off 3G? It's not like they only launched 3G in major markets or something.

  • Lee

    Hey just did it for you, sayd download 2879 and upload 300. This is on 3G made sure to turn my Wifi off.

  • Vancouver, BC.
    Intersection of West Georgia and Homer Street at the library

  • Turn off 3G on your iPhone. What happens?

    No matter what, it will drop off somewhere.

  • Anonymous

    wow its crazy how biased you are… WHY on earth would TELUS clients want to turn off 3G if they get better speeds and as mentionned before ALL their towers are HPSA+??? it doesnt make sense…
    wherever Rogers has EDGE coverage TELUS has HSPA+ coverage in the same area… so they dont need anything else to fall back on…. yet ANOTHER biased article by iPhone in Canada… as much as I love the site… im sick of seeing articles bashing carriers for wrongful and pointless reasons…

    compare the TELUS maps with Rogers HSPA maps… and then write an article about something that is obvious and we ALL knew since last year that TELUS wont have edge…

  • You must be a Telus customer justifying your expense, which is fine. The best place to test this is underground subway systems, of which Vancouver has a lot. There is 10-15 minute stretches in Vancouver, BC where Telus has no reception at all and Rogers has at least EDGE connection.

  • Anonymous

    im not actually… im with Rogers… um check your contract youre complaining because you cant get service in the subway?? how can a carrier guarantee that underground?? come to montreal no carrier hear reaches the subway… i dont pick sides… which is my point.. you cant point the finger at telus because they dont have edge because theyre technology is WAY ahead of rogers… i get dropped calls with rogers in the middle of the street in downtown montreal…

  • Telus does not have “better” tech than Rogers. It's on par now, which is the
    point of the lawsuit.

    Moreover, at the subways here, Vancouver Rogers customers get EDGE
    connection, so we can still use our devices normally. Telus/Bell, not so
    much.

    No one is asking a carrier to guarantee underground coverage, but the point
    is, Rogers can deliver that coverage.

  • Dusty

    My speeds with Rogers not the best 🙁 They came around the same as everyone else back in the blog posts of post ur speeds. I have noticed anything different since…

  • Lee

    I have to agree that doesn't make much sense, the fact that Rogers gives a bit of EDGE in some subways is not really a selling factor. It's not like you're saying “Rogers has 100% EDGE coverage on 100% of the subway network in Toronto Montreal and Vancouver” or something like that. Then you'd have a point, but that's just luck. Telus's HSPA network now works in my parking garage as I mentioned and my elevators, but my friends Rogers phone says no service in there. I don't think it's fair to judge providers based on coverage where generally one expects there not to be any. Getting coverage there is more like bonus. You make it sound like when the network is busy 3G fails and Rogers drops to EDGE. I've never not had service yet, and there would be no reason to not get it. The comment about turning off 3G in the menu and seeing what coverage you get is ridiculous as well, that's like saying “take your Rogers phone, hold the standby switch then slide it to power off your phone then see what kind of coverage you get.”

  • Great reporting X1Zero, I hadn't realised this point. Although like others have pointed out Telus has probably made sure that 3G doesn't drop as often as on the Rogers network by adding more towers.

  • dankgravy

    Like x1zero I also live in Vancouver and am on Rogers and yea in some places even outside for whatever reason I see my 3g drop off, I think x's point with his argument is that worst case scenario Rogers has at least two (edge and GPRS) positions for their customers, at least as a Rogers customer I know that it will be VERY infrequently that I'm without at least voice service, who really cares about the data it's icing on the cake ( and don't think I don't use mine I average over 4GB of traffic a month) but because this is my only phone it's nice to know that I'll have voice coverage.

  • dev0

    I'm interested to know what happens when people drive down the highway with their Bell/Telus iPhones. I know that in both Nova Scotia and Alberta, out on the highway I'd go from 3G near the cities down to Edge and then, possibly, to nothing for a while on my Rogers iPhone depending on how 'middle of nowhere' I am. Would they then go from 3G directly to nothing outside of towns on Bell or Telus?

    Also, take into account the fact that if a 3G tower goes offline for either Bell/Telus for any reason, the signal in that area will be completely offline for 3G phones. I know that the Rogers 3G radio on the tower in Banff went down for nearly the entire summer, but they still had Edge, so people were still able to get and make phone calls, and get online and surf the internet (even if it was slow). If this happened with Bell or Telus, this wouldn't be the case where they do not have Edge to fall back on.
    While I know that Banff, Alberta is a small town and only covered by one tower at the top of Sulphur Mountain, this would be the same case in any city, or in any area without overlapping coverage by 3G towers. Basically Bell and Telus customers would have no service what so ever if the tower went offline for any reason.

  • This is exactly what X1Zero is arguing. At least with Rogers, there is
    EDGE or GPRS should something go wrong with 3G. Telus/Bell has nothing
    to fall back on.

  • Precisely. Which is why I feel Rogers has the more reliable network no
    matter what Telus says.

  • Xaroc

    What a Time to do this … to me it sounds like this…. (Telus updates network, Spends lots of money on the advertising and hardware) now telus is thinking… hmmm.. we need money now… lets sue Rogers lol
    Over a a phrase that has been shared for years lol this is the most pathetic thing. i hope Telus Loses and has their name Ran through the mud for somthing so childish, and has been going on for years.

  • rogerskeith

    I'm with the communications team at Rogers (@RogersKeith on Twitter).

    I appreciate X1Zero's thoughtful analysis and wanted to add one more point. Reliability isn't something that can be measured at a point in time on an empty new network. Reliability takes time to establish. Rogers has established our reliability over years of testing and third-party analysis with millions of customers on our network. Reliability isn't something that can be turned on with the flick of a switch.

  • Interesting insight!

  • So basically what you are saying is that EDGE still works where 3G doesn't, so in an area where both Rogers and Telus have 3G coverage, but that 3G cuts out for both carriers (such as the subway system) Edge will still work, making Rogers more reliable.

    I can agree with that, but I think it's a bit of a shallow comparison. Is having EDGE to fall back on enough to say Rogers is more reliable? Hypothetically, if you're at a subway station that was right next to a Telus 3G tower, I'm sure you'd have a more reliable connection than Rogers that might even cut out completely.

    We have to remember that Telus/Bell had to build this network from the ground up to be just as reliable for calls as the existing networks, whereas Rogers has been safe leaving 3G as an afterthought, an addition to their existing network with EDGE to fall back on. That being said, I'd imagine Telus/Bell invested in a great number of 3G towers to ensure this reliability (and that's obvious just from looking at their coverage map: http://www.telusmobility.com/en/ON/why_telus/re…)

    My other question is, does HSPA+ make a difference in reliability from HSPA? If so, Bell/Telus will have the upper hand on Rogers with far more HSPA+ coverage.

    But all around good comparison. I'm a Fido customer and I have 3G coverage 99% of the time so I don't even think it's worth worrying about personally, if I lived in an area not 3G-covered by Fido and needed faster speeds I'd switch to Telus no problem.

  • A good point.

    Reliability can be difficult to measure, but I only used a single
    example. This blog unfortunately does not have the resources to
    conduct a full analysis but at least the idea gets across.

  • Thanks for the response, Keith.

    Reliability in terms of the infamous SAF also takes time. Rogers
    removes it, replaces it with a “government fee”. Telus removes it, but
    increases monthly plans by $5. Bell is rumoured to remove their SAF,
    but that will take time.

    Canadians can continue to “rely” on the Big 3 telcos here to hold
    Canadians hostage. An example is why we have a commentor on this blog
    with the nickname “Sad Rogers Prisoner”.

  • random

    Let`s not forget, having edge support can give you the option of turning 3g off in order to squeeze out some more battery life :I

    just wanted to bring that up

  • Another great point!

  • iconfused

    Is the coverage ok on the Canada Line? I thought it was built with wireless devices in mind.

  • rorypiper

    I agree with this, as well. With my job, I travel all over Greater Victoria, from Sooke to Sidney, and there are definitely some areas that I lose 3G, but at least my iPhone switches to EDGE, so I can still make calls, text, and everything. If I had a 3G (HSPA) only device, I'd be screwed. Maybe an argument could be made that if a certain area had more Telus towers than Rogers, you wouldn't lose 3G anyway, but that won't apply everywhere.

    Definitely depends on where you live and where you use your iPhone.

    Great “discussions” here, eh X1Zero?

  • We try

  • scott987

    A point worth mentioning:

    The connectivity for GSM is based on priority and activity. Thr biggest reason you will see 3G drop off on your phone is because you're not using it and you're in a high traffic area.

    The capacity for HSPA towers is considerably smaller than GPRS/EDGE because these are not data intensive networks and are mainly used for telephony services only. This means if a 3G tower gets too full it will start to boot off connections that have been idle the longest, possibly resulting loss of data connection.

    What he's trying to say is that when you drop off TELUS/Bell HSPA you have no where to go. And I say when, because it will happen.

    Let us know how you fair during an HSPA OUTAGE. Wait. You can't. Hrmm. Shitty.

  • mjcarrier

    LoL; Dude I've done a test with my Bold and my iPhone and I never seen that before. Anyway depending which line are you following downtown in MTL but the Green line from Berri 'til McGill i lose a little bit of connection but I'm still getting the 3G signal anyway! Down the streets on Ste-Cath. Fully coverage on both devices. Anyway the STM is looking to get a full coverage in the tunnels so keep that in mind. They are doing some kind of lobbying with the big three.

  • Dusty

    Yes that does help!

  • Nick

    Wow, I didn't know there could be such a bias, obviously you need to check your facts before writing an article like this.

    #1) If you turn off 3G, then yes, you won't get any signal from Bell/Telus. That's because it's ONLY 3G.
    #2) There is no fall-back because, like others have mentioned, EVERY tower is 3G HSPA. Broadcasting at both 850Mhz and 1.9GHz so there should be adequate coverage and capacity for both urban and rural sites.
    #3) The coverage underground depends on if there are towers nearby, but as far as I know there aren't any subway systems that allow any signal repeaters in their tunnels (even tho it would be great value-added service!)

    So to summarize, Bell/Telus doesn't NEED to have a GSM fallback, because you should have coverage EVERYWHERE (not just for some sites)

  • False.

    No matter how good telus “says” their coverage is, there will always
    be outages.

    So what will you do with your iphone when your 3G service goes down?
    You certainly WONT be making calls or browsing the web.

    Since Rogers has the fallback processes in place, they are more
    reliable.

    Fin.

  • Nick

    There will always be outages. Sure. this is a fact of life in the telecomm sector.

    But generally sites are built close enough geographically that if one tower fails, there will be coverage from nearby towers.
    Rogers towers have the same thing, when your 3G tower fails you are actually put on another tower further away. So there's no difference, they are not “more” reliable.

    If you are having 3G fail all the time, then it sounds like Rogers isn't reliable at all.

  • That's just it. My Rogers rarely fails. The telus iPhone…well that's
    another story.

    The point is, Rogers has the fall back processes which practically
    guarantees service everywhere. Unfortunately, Telus cannot say that.
    At least not yet.

  • Nick

    Oh, btw. your comparison of “perfect signal” to “decent signal” probably needs some field tests. Why don't you go and test this out yourself before posting these biased comparisons?

    If you are using Bell/Telus and you don't have a “perfect signal” then you will simply have low throughput. You will still be able to browse and make calls, it just won't be able to dedicate more bandwidth to your downloads/uploads.

    Do you really think a network could survive if you can only use it under perfect conditions? Get real.

  • Want to do the tests for us? Totally serious question.

    You seem a little aggressive, which is unnecessary. The point of this
    article is about reliability. No matter what way you slice it, Rogers
    is more reliable right now. Not just by signal, but by brand.

    They have had the GSM and 3G networks longer and in my uses of Rogers
    and Telus iPhones, Rogers is more reliable in terms of active, usable
    service. In the areas I use my iPhones, I get a usable signal more
    often with Rogers than with Telus.

    So while Rogers and Telus may have the same speed, Rogers is more
    reliable (at least for now) than Telus.

    Enjoy your Telus iPhone and have a good day.

    🙂

  • Nick

    You have a Telus iPhone that is failing? then maybe you should call customer service and find out what's going on….

    Nobody can guarantee service, reliability is usually 99.99% which depends on MTTR (mean-time-to-repair) and MTBF (mean-time-between-failures). There are many websites out there that show the towers of all carriers, check it out.

    http://www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/cancellsites

  • Graham

    I live in Kelowna BC and have discovered a few areas where my telus 3g on my iphone drops and I get no service. Which is fine in small increments, but I find that when my phone loses the 3g signal, most of the time I cannot get service back, unless I play with phone settings such as going in and out of airplane mode. I've lost service a few times in the same place and get no service and it stays no service unless I switch to airplane mode and back again. Kind of annoying especially if I'm not monitoring my phone and now I cannot receive any calls or texts?

  • Maybe talk to commenter “Nick”, as he seems quite “knowledgeable” in the
    ways of Telus and how 3G never drops.

    lol

  • Nick

    Maybe you should call customer service, which is what I suggested to the blog author. I never said 3G never drops, but the coverage is everywhere, literally. So if you are having poor coverage then I'm sure your provider would really like to talk to you about that.

  • scott987

    Please refer to my previous post.

  • Nick

    hey Scott, not sure what you mean by HSPA towers having less capacity than GPRS/EDGE. From what I understand HSPA is more data-intensive, while voice calls are pushed to GSM (when both 2G and 3G are available). Rogers has a lot of capacity in 2G, and then is starting to upgrade major sites to 3G, is this what you mean?

    Now if a 3G tower gets too full and starts dropping/blocking calls, that's a capacity issue. Would you rather have additional capacity built in 2G or 3G? Rogers already has a 2G network, so sure that works for them. Bell/Telus are building only 3G capacity so they will have engineers determine how much is “enough” capacity for an area.

    When you have an HSPA outage, your phone will attempt to associate with one of the neighbour cells instead, that is the hand-off to another 3G site (instead of a 2G site). So what's the real difference here?

    whatever you do, don't turn off 3G in your phone, because that's all there is. (and there's lots of it)

  • gwatt

    Okay….. so let begin by saying I have tested both Rogers & Telus iPhone 3GS. With Rogers yes there is that fallback which happened to me all the time it does switch to Edge & this is because the phone believes there is a better signal on edge so lets use it.(IE basements, subways ect.) Rogers iPhone also has the habit of switching to Edge for know reason when I know there is 3G signal because it switches back. (no its not the Phone I have tested it with many iphones) Now my guess for this would be that there is too much traffic off that tower and I’m not using data at that time so why not move me to edge. I can’t say for sure that this is why but its the only logical reason that comes to mind. Now with Telus there is no Edge which concerned me too at first thinking oh well I’m not going to get service in different parts of my house/office. But I to my surprise I was wrong. The phone stays on 3G and doesn’t go to no service and it is usable…but data is slower. So back to the original article. I do believe Telus has a right to sue Rogers for false advertising for both points of fastest and most reliable network. Because its just not true they both have the same theoretical speed. Telus (currently) has more faster coverage being their HSPA+ network than Rogers does. So, with that in mind, Telus does have better(performance) coverage in Canada based on KM. But….. this is how Rogers is right, Rogers has more coverage based on population throughout Canada. So who is right? What is considered to be more reliable? more coverage based on population or Canada KM? I guess this is what will be the deciding factor as to who wins…..

  • Daisy Harris

    I just tried this app. I'm on Rogers and got 2934 kilobits/sec down and 247 up. Wifi was disabled before the test.

  • anon

    yes, however if the telus/bell hspa network was a mans face…the rogers 3g+ network is the size of a pimple on that face. look it up.

  • Modus

    In response to #2, there is a misconception that all of Telus/Bell towers have been upgraded to 3G. According to tech support from Telus, the two companies share coverage and not all towers are 3G. I learned this as a Telus customer in southern Niagara Region, Ontario.

    I upgraded 3G phone and did not have strong enough signal to make any calls. Their investigation led to the conclusion that towers covering this zone (Port Colborne) were not upgraded (apparently Bell was supposed to do it).

    An additional comment is the coverage map is not accurate in my case (checked it before upgrading) and assume that there is exaggeration in other regions on the map. While they expect to upgrade, I ended up returning my phone as they could not give me a time frame for completion and was a brick (other than wifi) while in the entire city that I live.

  • Davod

    Dude that is freaking precious information ! I was hesitating between Telus and Rogers for my new i-phone but now I'm going with Rogers all the way.

    Thanks a million !

  • Raphaël

    I am in border of montreal and i don't know whitch compagni I should choose between fido or telus. I am not travelling a lot arround canada but a little bit in Quebec. So i would like you to give me some good advice on my choice for the best 3G network.
    Thank a lot

  • Gaillen

    I am curious why you think “reliable” refers to coverage area? My understanding has always been that “reliable” in the campaigns referred to the difference in technologies (GSM/CDMA) and whether one or the other gave you a more reliable connection within your coverage area. I suspect you will find that this is the definition that Telus and Rogers are in court debating.

    Cellphone companies usually advertise what you are referring to as”Coverage”.

  • Will

    I purchased an iPhone from Bell Mobility 2 weeks ago. Was near Pembroke last weekend and lost service to the web (You are not connected to a data network message). Didn't make any calls so not sure if the phone part worked or not.

    Today, I was in the Shirley's Bay area of Ottawa at end of Rifle Road. I get a 'No Service' message on my phone. I drove up to Carling and turned down to Grandview and my service came back. I drove back down Rifle Road and service was ok this time. I wasn't sure what to make of this problem except I never had an issue on my Bell Mobility cellular phone there ever. I've been with Bell Mobility for a long time.

    Then I started to do a search on the web and see it's likely due to Bell Mobilty not being a GSM network like Rogers. Had I knwn this I would have switched to Rogers iPhone instaed of going with Bell Mobility. Like many Bell customers, I did not know about this issue. Bell Mobility should have disclosed this and I feel duped. Really, why would I want to sign up for iPhone service with a company that has this kind of problem? I would definitely have gone with Rogers.

  • Kaan

    I am a telus iphone 3gs owner and i was having some reception problems since i have my phone but didnt understand what causes this until i read this article. I ve reached this article by googleing for 'iphone 3gs telus Disable 3gs' i was trying to turn off 3g to save battery life because i Need to charge my iphone everyday and it really sucks. And now i realized that all problems i had about reception was 3g thing. Sometimes i cant get reception even in downtown or biggest mall in the city (stjohns,nl) but my friend's cdma telus phone has reception at the same time! So i can say that there are problems about telus's network even if they have changed all their towers to the new ones

  • Kaan

    I am a telus iphone 3gs owner and i was having some reception problems since i have my phone but didnt understand what causes this until i read this article. I ve reached this article by googleing for 'iphone 3gs telus Disable 3gs' i was trying to turn off 3g to save battery life because i Need to charge my iphone everyday and it really sucks. And now i realized that all problems i had about reception was 3g thing. Sometimes i cant get reception even in downtown or biggest mall in the city (stjohns,nl) but my friend's cdma telus phone has reception at the same time! So i can say that there are problems about telus's network even if they have changed all their towers to the new ones

  • Dylan

    Uh.. Rogers coverage in Alberta sucks compared to Telus. Too many times have I had full 3G bars where my Rogers friends have no service…