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4G plan with slow upload speed

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

A few days ago I switched my wife and I to one of the new 4G plans, and it looks the the throttle has now been removed. Is it expected results that the upload speed is still capped though? It's not even hitting the 3 Mbps speed, let alone 4G speed. Is this a separate throttle that may need to be removed still?

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28 REPLIES 28

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

I get such a kick out of the posts that mods choose to accept as solutions when they don't actually answer the original question. Sometimes the accepted posts may be helpful or informative, but that doesn't mean they address the original inquiry. Is there a requirement that all threads must have an accepted solution?

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

Good call, here is the result after a reset.

 

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esjliv
Mayor / Maire

Restarting cell phones @DennyCrane can help speed test results normally. This would be similar to if you were doing speed tests on desktop (where a reboot of your computer, modem or router could help).

Have you tried to restart your phone to see if it improves your results?

Korth
Mayor / Maire

It's worth noting that fastest speed will always be limited by the slowest link in the chain.

Often it's the network.

And often it's the device hardware itself. Different SoCs have different modems, codecs, capacities - even if they all advertise the same "5G capability" they're different parts with different specs.

 

Short version is that some phones (newer, more expensive phones) can reach faster or fastest speeds. Other phones (older, less expensive) phones will get slower maximum speeds.

 

I know some people always have the latest-and-greatest new $$$$ flagship tech in their pocket. But most people have lesser phones with lesser capabilities which will "throttle" their speeds more than the network and provider they're connected to. The phone company is a business - their primary objective is to make profit, not to deploy unnused network infrastructures - so they're only going to deploy and upgrade performances when and where it will make money (a lot of people with "fast" phones and high demand) - they won't deploy and upgrade things or raise their "throttles" if it doesn't benefit them.


@softech wrote:

Of course this is Telus, this is a 2019 report,  Telus upload speed is about 9.8 Mpbs

 

https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/telus-best-4g-lte-network-canada-opensignal-2019

 

 

Add:

 

Telus 7.98 for a 2022 report

https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/canadas-network-performance-remains-relatively-unchanged-compa...


I'lll add that these are crowd sourced results. The upload speed can be much higher (or lower) for an individual test. 

Of course this is Telus, this is a 2019 report,  Telus upload speed is about 9.8 Mpbs

 

https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/telus-best-4g-lte-network-canada-opensignal-2019

 

 

Add:

 

Telus 7.98 for a 2022 report

https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/canadas-network-performance-remains-relatively-unchanged-compa...


@will13am wrote:

The fine print seems to suggest the higher speed applies to download only.  It would be a shame that upload speed is still artificially capped.  


That's possible but that artificial cap for upload speed (if there is one) isn't set at 3Mbps.  I find that that upload speeds are wildly inconsisent (more so than download speeds) and I have seen upload speeds of around 1Mbps, 9Mbps, and 60Mbps.   There appears to be some type of traffic shaping happening here.

 

As for download speeds, I've yet to receive an answer from Public Mobile that I'm satisfied with when it comes to how the plan page talks about 100Mbps download speeds but how the Self Serve account states a maximum of 750Mbps theoretically.  I do strongly suspect that Public Mobile has modified the "4g" speeds slightly because I've had one of the old "4g" plans before and there had been a few times that Pubilc Mobile had accidently and temporarily turned off the 3Mbps speed throttling on a "3g" plan that I previously had.  I used to be able to get more than 300Mbps download speeds, but on one of these new "4g" plans, I've never been able to download faster than 107Mbps.

People do upload recorded videos, etc. But they don't need "30x faster" upload speeds for this. The uploads tend to be relatively infrequent and relatively short/small - it hardly matters if they take 1 second or 30 seconds to complete. Note that 3Mbps is typically sufficient for 1080/30fps compressed video, 1080/24fps uncompressed video.

 

People do upload realtime videos during calls, etc. But even the most intensive of these - "highest quality" FaceTime across a pair of iPhone 13s - can barely exceed 3MB (maybe 4MB) per minute. 3Mbps (roughly 180MB/minute) is quite overkill.

 

I wasn't trying to debate how people use their smartphones or judge the merits of their activities.

But the network engineers do ask these questions all the time. One of the answers they've come up with is asymmetrical bandwidth allocations. Download always gets as much as possible, upload only gets as much as necessary. Unused bandwidth is wasted bandwidth so of course it'll be (re)designated towards endless download demands.

 

3Mbps seems lower than I'd expect. But again, it's also more than enough when you compare vs actual examples of mobile data usage. I doubt it's "throttling" any real performances for the vast majority of people doing the vast majority of things.

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

Thank you!

Makes sense.

B5 is only 5 MHz, max UL would be around 17 Mbps. If you can get a good signal on B7 or B2, you'll see better UL speeds.

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

Good call, I will try some tests in better signal areas. Here is right now, same location. Band 5 and the up speed has improved for the first time. Still not where I'd expect it to be, but significantly better than this morning.

 

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@dust2dust wrote:

You're right. I forgot about video calls. People do that.

Indeed, there's no mention of upload speeds here.


But I think 1 or 2Mbps upload speed is sufficient for video calling on phone

There are separate limits on your profile for DL and UL. Last time I looked at it, it was 3008 kbps for DL and UL.

 

I'm pretty sure they would increase the UL limit at the same time, but I haven't verified this as I don't have the new plan.

 

UL can get to 70 Mbps on LTE for a 20 MHz channel when there is no CA, if there isn't much load on the cell and your signal is good. Your signal didn't seem great, and I'm not sure what band you were on. Have you never been able to get above 3 Mbps?

will13am
Oracle
Oracle

The fine print seems to suggest the higher speed applies to download only.  It would be a shame that upload speed is still artificially capped.  

dust2dust
Mayor / Maire

You're right. I forgot about video calls. People do that.

Indeed, there's no mention of upload speeds here.

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

That's a lot of generalization happening there. Though this doesn't apply to me specifically, we're in a world where people upload their lives to TikTok and YouTube while they're mobile, so yes "people" do require a decent upload speeds for that. I agree that the majority of mobile traffic is down, but that's not to say up isn't also important. 

 

In any case i didn't intend to have debate on how people use their phones or why. My questions are quite simple:

 

1) What are expected and/or max upload speeds on a PM 4G plan? Seeing as this doesn't appear to be available on the PM website, I'd appreciate some first hand experience over speculation.

 

2) Is the upload throttle a separate throttle from download throttle? It's clear to be my upload speed is being throttled (whether intentional or not), as I have first hand experience with both TELUS and Rogers 4G networks and can confirm they have much greater upload capacity than 3Mbps.

dabr
Mayor / Maire

@Korth    Thanks for the link in English.    I'm just not sure why the details page have the link in French as I just copied it from the same page I pasted the info from..

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

For sure. And im would never fault them for not providing the max speed, but clearly my upload speed is still being throttled. I'll give it a couple days and then make a request if it persists. Maybe it's by design, but if so their marketing should be updated.

 

I'm curious what the experience is of others who have 4G plans.

@DennyCrane 

 

Mobile networks are asymmetrical. A lot of bandwidth is dedicated to download because it's designed to support a lot of simultaneous downloads for a lot of users. Not so much bandwidth is allocated to upload because most user activities are primarily download-based. People don't submit large files from their phones - just little stuff typed onscreen or "background" stuff snuck under the radar from scripts, apps, telemetry, spyware. Even painstakingly typed pages of office documents representing many hours of work will take up a tiny fraction of a single Megabyte.

 

You need a lot of download bandwidth to provide an endless glut of webpages, video streams, audio streams, animated boxes, etc. Mbps.

You don't need a lot of upload bandwidth to send search requests, page requests, feedback, logins, tweets and twits. Kbps.

 

You don't need big upload speed unless you plan to do a lot of uploading from a mobile device. Use it as a webserver or P2P filesharing/seeding node or whatever - it would be technically challenging, expensive, and stupid to do such things across cellular data instead of across some sort of wired connection.

 

If you don't believe this then I challenge you to find any "normal" real world usage where your "slow" upload speed is actually throttling performance. Synthetic benchmarks (like Speedtests) are not meaningfully representative examples of actual, practical, real world performance.

 

I wouldn't condemn the marketing. It plainly states "download speed" several times. It makes no promises about upload speeds - those are consumer assumptions. Unnecessary assumptions. Like thinking perhaps that your car should be able to hit the top speed displayed on the dashboard when it's in reverse gear.

 

@dabr 

 

French - https://www.publicmobile.ca/en/on/pdfs/Wireless_Video_Experience_Optimization_fr.pdf

English - https://www.publicmobile.ca/en/on/pdfs/Wireless_Video_Experience_Optimization.pdf

Telus - https://www.telus.com/en/support/article/wireless-network-experience-optimization

ENEA (OEM) - https://owmobility.com/press-releases/openwave-mobilitys-video-optimization-platform-improves-user-e...

 

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

Not really relevant to my question, but yes there is. Many people focus solely on download speeds, but uploading is important if you're sending files. On Public's 3G plans it would be quite cumbersome if I ever tried to send a video over WhatsApp for example. Video calls also require a good upload connection.

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

Yeah i looked at that as well. I've been with TELUS for many years before PM, and upload speeds were always way better than what im getting right now. I will wait another couple days before logging a request though. 

Haiggy
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

If promised "up to" a certain speed, they tend to use that as an excuse for any realized speed slower than what is advertised after those words.

dust2dust
Mayor / Maire

Is there a need for faster upload? Videos, streaming from your phone (not to phone), large file uploads?

@DennyCrane    It's weird, because looking at the details for 4G speeds, I only see mention of download speeds:

 

"¹Plans with 3G speed may reach download speeds of up to 3 Mbps, and plans with 4G speed may reach download speeds up to 100 Mbps, with the coverage and reliability of the LTE network. Speed and signal strength may vary with your device, configuration, Internet traffic, environmental conditions, applicable network management and other factors. For more information about speed experience in our rate plans, please see

https://www.publicmobile.ca/pdfs/Wireless_Video_Experience_Optimization_fr.pdf

 

edit:  even odder that the link is in French!

HI @DennyCrane   Speed could take around 48 hours to come.  

 

AFAIK, Upload speed is not capped, at least not capped at 3Mpbs.  I would wait another day, try it at different area again and see if you see any better upload speed.  And your download speed should be higher too

 

If the speed is the same by tomorrow, open ticket with CS agent

 

DennyCrane
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

I made the change on August 16th, to be effective at renewal on the evening of the 17th. I knew about the delay to remove the throttle, which was reflected in my speed tests up until this morning where you can now see the download speed is as I would expect. I'm curious why the upload speed wouldn't improve at the same time?

JL9
Mayor / Maire

What day this week did you make the change? Is it reflected in your self serve. It takes up to 48 hours to kick in, if is beyond that you can reach out to a CSA to investigate any speed issues as it should be 4G at that point