Best Cell Phone Coverage in Ontario

10 January 2018

Given that Ontario is home to 40% of Canada’s population, it’s remarkable how much of it is comprised of unpopulated wilderness. 

Take for example the Canadian Shield, which makes up over half the province’s land area: this thinly populated region is dominated by forests, lakes and rivers, and only the occasional town. Meanwhile, the Hudson Bay Lowlands in the extreme north are virtually unpopulated and consist of vast wetlands.

It’s easy to forget all of this when you’re spending time in Toronto, a bustling, cosmopolitan hub of business, science and education. Canada’s largest city is also a true cultural melting pot, attracting visitors and transplants from all over the world.

Whichever part of Ontario you’re in, you likely place great importance on getting an adequate cell phone signal from your carrier. While the coverage scores below may appear low, that’s because they take into account the vast wilderness areas of the province in addition to the cities. The coverage picture in Toronto will likely be far different than in small town northwestern Ontario. Read on to learn more.

Coverage in Ontario At-a-Glance

For a province that includes big city Toronto, coverage in Ontario is surprisingly weak, earning an overall score of 11 out of 100. However, keep in mind that this score reflects the entire area of the province which, as you know if you live there, includes a massive amount of wilderness. Here's a guide to coverage in Toronto, and Ottawa

What we love
  • Bell, Telus and Rogers all provide similarly fair coverage to Ontario
  • Expect the best coverage in and around Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, London and Windsor
What could be improved
  • Freedom Mobile's network largely absent in Ontario
  • Coverage is toughest to come by in the wilderness areas to the north of the province 

Carrier Network Coverage in Ontario

All four major carriers are represented throughout the Ontario, some offering better service than others. Take a look at the graph to see which networks are the best:   

Best Coverage in Ontario, Canada by Network
Network  Covered Area %
Bell 22.53%
Rogers 20.59%
Freedom 1.72%
Telus 22.53%

Cell Phone Coverage in Ontario by Area

Ontario encompasses 383,732 square miles, with Bell, Telus and Rogers providing the best coverage. Freedom, meanwhile, barely registers. 

Geographic Area Covered in Ontario, Canada per mi2
Network Percentage Geographic Area Covered
Bell 22.53% 86,467
Rogers 20.59% 78,999
Freedom 1.72% 6,584
Telus 22.53% 86,467
Coverage data generated November 11st 2017 from carrier maps

Ontario is covered by both 3G and 4G LTE technology. 3G is the network that some older phones run on, and the one newer 4G LTE-capable devices fall back to when unable to reach a primary network. Here's how much territory the top carriers cover:

Coverage in Ontario, Canada (383,732 m2) by 3G/4G LTE
Bell Rogers Freedom Telus
3G 86,467 78,999 6,584 86,467
4G LTE 85,064 57,936 2,848

Ontario Network Coverage Maps

Numbers on a page are one thing, but the coverage maps tell the full story. Fortunately, you don't have to go to all of the carriers' websites to get this information--you can see what the coverage is like from the four majors below: 

The maps confirm that Telus, Rogers, and Bell all have fair to decent coverage, with Freedom Mobile bringing up the rear.

Big Carriers vs. Small Carriers in Ontario

Fun fact: Most of the main four carriers in Canada offer their minutes, texts and data to smaller carriers. These smaller carriers are called MVNOs for short. Essentially, MVNOs buy network service from the top tier carriers giving customers a chance to save money on the same amazing network.

If you're interested in Telus's coverage, for example, but are looking for a better deal, PC Mobile, Koodo, Public Mobile, and PhoneBox are some of the smaller providers offering these services.

Getting the Best Plan & Coverage

WhistleOut's new coverage check feature supercharges an already robust comparison engine by allowing you to instantly see what coverage is like at your location. All you have to do is punch in your address and we do the rest. This feature is the first of its kind, and empowers consumers to make better decisions when it comes to wireless. If you need help figuring out how to use it, the GIF below should help: 

Coverage Map Comparison
Checking coverage at an address in Encinitas across Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and ATT networks

In addition to showing you a map of your area with the coverage from all four major carriers, we filter through the available cell phone plans and present only those from carriers who provide good reception to you.  



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