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Wednesday, 2024-Jul-3 — Canada 5G Prices — Approaching international norms

Canadian SIM-only 5G prices are slowly reducing to international norms. We include Australian prices, because it has a similar culture, economy, land mass and population distribution. So, prices should be comparable — but they're not. (All prices are CAD, taxes included. Bundled prices require you to also purchase home internet, TV, etc. After plan limit is consumed, speeds reduce to 0.5 mbps in Canada and 2.0 mbps in Australia.)

SIM Only 5G Plans (in $CAD)
  2023-Aug 2023-Oct 2024-Jul
CountryCarrier Plan $ / GB Plan $ / GB Plan $ / GB
AUSVodafone$57 / 600GB$0.10$57 / 600GB$0.10$63 / 360GB$0.18
AUSOptus$60 / 500GB$0.12$60 / 500GB$0.12$63 / 500GB$0.13
AUSTelstra$83 / 300GB$0.28$66 / 300GB$0.22$87 / 300GB$0.29
CADRogers$119 / 150GB$0.79$119 / 150GB$0.79$79 / 200GB$0.40
CADTelus$119 / 150GB$0.79$119 / 150GB$0.79$90 / 200GB$0.45
CADBell$119 / 150GB$0.79$96 / 120GB$0.80$90 / 200GB$0.45
CADRogers Bundle$62 / 120GB$0.52$68 / 200GB$0.34
CADTelus Bundle$102 / 150GB$0.68$68 / 200GB$0.34
CADBell Bundle$62 / 120GB$0.52$68 / 200GB$0.34

Canadian wireless providers offer secret detals if you know who to speak to and what to say. It's a hassle, but if the time is right and your plan situation just so, you might be able to come closer to what Australians get — without the games.

Thursday, 2024-Jun-27 — Australia 5G Cellular Site Counts

Australia has 23,369 cellular, 2,397 NBN & 4,443 TPG sites. The table below shows an increaing portion of these cellular sites support 5G:

# 5G Cellular Sites Across Australia
Telstra 1 283 1,314 4,312 4,491 4,775 5,592 5,745
Optus 1 208 808 1,264 2,024 2,886 3,800 4,020
Vodafone 0 0 86 222 1,515 2,518 3,249 3,479

This table captures the annual growth of 5G cellular sites across Australia, as reported by Australia Cellular Services.

Tuesday, 2024-Jun-18 — Vidéotron / Freedom

14 months ago, Videotron acquired Freedom Mobile. Today, Canada Cellular Services merged these two licensees into one, both as a filter and in channel details, as shown at the right.

Prior to the merge, there were 1,501 Vidéotron sites and 2,413 Freedom sites. After the merge, there are 3,505 combined Vidéotron / Freedom sites.

Filter combines Vidéotron & Freedom

New Videotron / Freedom filter

Channel details combine Vidéotron & Freedom

Videotron / Freedom appearing as one licensee in a site's channel details

Friday, 2024-Apr-5 — April Spectrum Data Update (Canada)

We periodically update the graphs you see below, which track the dismal quality of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) spectrum data. This month's graphs show Telus losing 38% of its spectrum (green line in top-left graph) and 45% of its sites (green line in bottom-left graph). Of course, Telus isn't scaling down operations and leaving Canada. It's just another oops from ISED, which finally acknowledged that they have serious data quality problems.

ISED SMS snapshots should never be used as-is. We monitor SMS snapshots and supplement with proprietary and 3rd party data giving Canada Cellular Services the most accurate representation available of Canada's wireless landscape.

NB. We no longer graph channel counts because a channel means different things to different wireless operators and thus has no relevance. In its place, we offer Occupied Spectrum which roughly measures overall network capacity. And site count (minus DAS sites) remains a good measure of network coverage.

Occupied Spectrum (GHz)
Rogers, Telus, Bell occupied spectrum graph for past 18 months
Occupied Spectrum (GHz)
Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink occupied spectrum graph for past 18 months

Site Counts
Rogers, Telus, Bell site count graph for past 18 months
Site Counts
Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink site count graph for past 18 months

Wednesday, 2024-Jan-31 — Canada's Spectrum Data — Garbage-In-Garbage-Out

Since 2012, we have repeatedly warned that Canada's wireless spectrum data should never be used as-is, stating An organization that makes decisions directly from this raw data exposes itself to risks and liabilities. Nonetheless, it has been used for

compliance verifications, interference investigations, as well as international coordination efforts along shared borders. The information is also used by licensees in support of inter-operator domestic and international coordination, as well as tower and site sharing between licensees. [ Ref ]

Canada's spectrum data cannot support the activities above or any other where money or public safety is involved.

12 years after our first warning, Canada's federal government finally responded:

a growing need to substantially improve data quality, reliability and uniformity within the Spectrum Management System (SMS).

We're not confident their action plan will substantially improve data quality, as it doesn't identify why the data is so bad. Their 50 page document mentions quality only three times. To fix something, you first need to know what went wrong. We suspect the data quality issue relates to the existing complex data ingest workflow, from wireless operator to government, poor data requirement documentation, poor validation checks and confusing error diagnostics.

Fortunately, their document rejected recommendations from some wireless operators to use a RESTful API interface for the ingest process. New Zealand's spectrum agency adopted this buzzword-laden techno babble, which we had the misfortune of using. It imposes excessive complexity and overhead, endearing only to a bureaucratic IT department or high-priced consulting firm looking for more billable hours. It does nothing whatsoever to address data quality. So, again, we're glad the Canadian government didn't embrace these fashionable technical buzzwords in their pursuit of data quality.

We hope that government and wireless operators can deliver on the need to substantially improve spectrum data quality.

Tuesday, 2024-Jan-2 — Copernicus DEM 30 2023_1 Update Now Available

Update 2024-Mar-27: Official documentation Release notes for Copernicus DEM 30m showing mention of Moldova as new coverage for the 2023_1 release states Free & Open release of the restricted countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova. This is incorrect; Copernicus DEM 30 has always included Moldova.

Copernicus DEM (COP30) is a free-to-use, high quality 30m surface digital elevation model. COP30 receives small annual updates; its 2023_1 update appeared a few days ago, and includes two improvements:

Improvement #1: 26 New DEM Files

25 new DEM files covering all of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as illustrated by the animation below. (The 26th new DEM file covers a small area in Antarctica.) With these new files, COP30 finally covers all 149 million km2 of earth's land mass at 30m horizontal resolution.

Armenia and Azerbaijan (before and after 2023_1 update)

25 new DEM tiles from the Copernicus DEM 30 2023_1 release that cover Armenia and Azerbaijan

Improvement #2: 12 Edited DEM Files

Minor edits along river banks to 10 files over the entirety of Moldova, 1 file in Central Bolivia and 1 file in Northern India. The animation below hilights a typical edit along the bank of a river near the Moldova / Romania border.

Edited Pixels Hilighted in Yellow (near 48.25N, 26.65E)

An animation that shows pixels modified by Copernicus DEM 30 DGED release 2023_1

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