Here is Freedom Mobile’s LTE network at its very best in downtown Toronto, observed by yours truly in the second SIM slot of his Band 66-compatible OnePlus 5. I’ve definitely recorded better download speeds on Bell/Koodo/TELUS in the same neighbourhood, but Freedom’s speeds—and the low latency in particular—is perfectly acceptable for almost anything you’d ask a modern smartphone to do.
But here’s the thing: in my three days of informal testing across the GTA that LTE signal was pretty hard to come by. More often than not I was stuck on HSPA+, sometimes even on (gasp) 3G!
Not only that, but I can recall two incidents in particular where Freedom let me down entirely: the first was in the parking lot at IKEA North York, where the latency was so bad that launching Google Maps yielded no traffic data; the second was in the basement of Hudson’s Bay Company at Queen and Yonge, where I was surprised to suddenly find myself with no signal at all.
The rest of the time data on Freedom was slow but serviceable. I did keep an eye on my phone’s status bar, and when a rare 4G signal magically appeared I immediately did a speed test, with results similar to what you see above. This may, of course, be an issue unique to my unsupported hardware. But a chat with a rep at my local Freedom outlet gave me the impression that the phones sold by the carrier exhibit similar behaviour.
I will never fault anyone for choosing Freedom Mobile to vote with their wallet; Canada’s Big Three carriers have been ripping us off for far too long. But while I’d definitely recommend an LTE upgrade to an existing user, I also think that any Big Three customer looking to jump ship is in for a disappointing ride.