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Bell, Telus pick 4G, HSPA; iPhone possible

updated 12:10 pm EDT, Fri October 10, 2008

Bell and Telus Pick 4G

Bell and Telus today announced that they would both choose Long Term Evolution (LTE) as their fourth-generation (4G) cellular network standard. The move will dramatically increase the speed of mobile Internet access in the country and will give subscribers to either of the competing carriers the option of roaming on the other's network but also to American providers, most of which will also move to LTE at the same time.

The standard is estimated to offer download speeds as high as 100Mbps or higher versus the 7.2Mbps possible on today's fastest 3G networks; it also has lower latency that makes multiplayer games and video streaming feasible.

To support the transition, both also say they will now add High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) on the 850MHz and 1,900MHz bands to their existing 3G networks. The standard is normally used for GSM phone networks but is being added to create an easier transition to LTE as the primary standard in the future. Both Bell and Telus say they plan to keep their existing CDMA and EVDO networks intact; Telus adds that its iDEN-based Mike network, which handles push-to-talk phones, will also continue ahead.

The two providers both anticipate having commercial 4G service ready by early 2010. Bell has a more specific window and claims it should have its LTE running by the start of the Olympic Winter Games near the start of that year. Verizon in the US is planning its shift in a similar timeframe and will be joined by AT&T afterwards.

Adding HSPA significantly alters the Canadian cellular industry. Both carriers will now share the same 3G standard as Rogers, which so far has been the only HSPA provider in Canada. As a result, customers will potentially have the option of switching from Rogers to another carrier without having to exchange phones. The use of similar frequencies also gives Bell and Telus access to the same phones as their fellow rival, including the once off-limits iPhone 3G and the BlackBerry Bold.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Salty

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jul 2005


    Bold and iPhone?

    OK, uhh gives them access to the iPhone 3G and the Bold? Am I missing something? Telus will never carry the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3G will probably be discontinued in June/July for the iPhone with new features, my guess video telephony, perhaps a better camera. And then that'll be replaced by the next revision. Then Telus and Bell might get the same one. As for the Bold if Telus and Bell carry the Bold it'll be a two year old phone by 2010, my guess is they will carry whatever the current BlackBerries are for that time, and if they did come out with a BlackBerry Bold that used 3G it'd be an EVDO one simply because the current Bold doesn't have that great of battery life. But don't worry... it's not like anyone really expected you to say something that made sense.

  1. shabbasuraj

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Aug 2003


    More choice.

    It is high time to break up the Rogers monopoly.

  1. rok

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 1999


    Read past the title...

    Hey Salty, if you'd read past the title, you'd see the article isn't saying Telus/Bell would CARRY the iPhone or Bold, but that users could SWITCH to them and retain their phone's full functionality, something that is impossible right now. If you switch from Rogers, you essentially have an iPod Touch plus a camera.

    But don't worry... it's not like anyone really expected you to say something that made sense.

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