updated 12:25 pm EDT, Wed October 22, 2008
Quebecor HSPA Coming
Cable provider Quebecor today said it would roll out an HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) 3G network across Canada and establish itself as only the second carrier using the technology in the country. The company plans to have the first elements of its network in use within the next 12 to 18 months and plans to finish its efforts within four years.
The company has so far made no mention of partners but is rumored to potentially get support from Globalive, which won out in wireless auctions held earlier this year but lacks the necessary privileges to provide service in Quebec. It's not known how far Quebecor's network will reach beyond its home province.
Observers have contended that the addition of a fourth major carrier to the Canadian cellular market is essential to the country's business as it would drive competition for prices and terms. Providers regularly require three-year contracts for discounts at the same prices as for two-year plans in the US and rarely offer truly unlimited Internet access, instead preferring to either use bandwidth caps or else to confine unlimited use to single features or apps.
Rogers' existence as the sole HSPA provider also left it as the only firm able to carry the iPhone 3G in the country, giving it less incentive to adjust data rates.
Aside from Globalive and Quebecor, competition is also expected to increase following Bell and Telus upgrades to HSPA that will let customers switch between any one of the incumbent networks while keeping their phones.