Roaming Report – Part 10 – LTE and the Partial Lack of 5G Roaming in Canada

After having had a closer look at the LTE and 5G bands used in the US in previous posts, I traveled on to Canada and obviously also took the time to have a look at how my devices would work in this country. And once again, there were a number of interesting surprises, at least from a European point of view.

Let’s come to the nasty surprises first: The devices that refused to do LTE carrier aggregation in the US suddenly remembered some of their capabilities and offered a number of band combinations in Canada. Unfortunately, most of them were not very helpful, because the frequencies were not used in the country. For whatever reason, however, the devices further decided to not support LTE/5G ENDC at all in Canada, so I was stuck in LTE with them for my stay. Fortunately, I had another device from a different vendor that could do LTE carrier aggregation and LTE/NR ENDC just fine.

That being said, let’s venture on. I’m not sure how many physical cellular networks exist in Canada, as I saw a number of sites in my traces which broadcasted several Mobile Network Codes (MNCs). One cell that provided service for two network operators requested details about the following bands from my devices:

LTE: 2, 66, 7 , 25, 38, 41, 12, 71, 17, 5, 4
NR: 2, 7, 66, 71, 78

This is an interesting mix of band numbers used in the US and Europe. On the LTE side, the network queried for band 7 (2600 MHz) support, and my devices actually used this frequency band while I was there. This band is not used at all in the US. ON the 5G side, it seems that band n78 (3.5 GHz) is used in Canada, which is also not used in the US. There, band n77 is used, which is also in the 3.5 GHz region, but covers somewhat different spectrum. In other words: An interesting Europe/Africa/Asia + North America mix of frequency bands.