updated 08:35 pm EDT, Thu September 9, 2010
Videotron mobile launches with iPhone hints
Quebec's regional carrier Videotron today launched its cellphone network with a hint that Apple was developing a version of the iPhone that would work for its own network, Wind Mobile and for T-Mobile USA. An executive VP with the carrier hinted that Apple was developing a version for the 1,700MHz AWS band that all three carriers share. Subscribers could "expect an announcement in the coming months," he said.
It's unclear how much knowledge the executive might have, though it corroborates rumors of Apple expanding the reach of the iPhone through versions that support more carriers in early 2011. Most rumors have centered around the CDMA version anticipated for Verizon and likely other providers, but a GSM version with HSPA for on other bands has become an increasing possibility. Apple may be eager both to keep its growth rate as well as to curb Android by eliminating "safe" carriers where Google's OS can operate unhindered.
Videotron's cellphone service itself is focused on local service and costs as little as $33 for unlimited calling within a local zone. Bundled data starts at 50MB, but it can scale up to as much as $40 extra per month for 5GB. Android so far has the majority of the smartphone presence and includes the Nexus One, Motorola XT720 and Garmin-ASUS A50; the BlackBerry Bold 9700, Pearl 3G and Nokia 5230 are also present.
The Canadian provider is focusing mostly on its home province, but it does plan to add local coverage in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario as well as roaming in 95 percent of the country. [via Engadget Mobile]