updated 07:00 pm EDT, Wed April 6, 2011
Telus plans LTE for early 2012
Telus on Wednesday became the next major Canadian carrier to detail its plans for LTE-based 4G. The provider planned to start deploying the network in the second half of this year with an expectation that it would go live in early 2012. The timing would put it just behind Rogers, which hopes to have active service by the end of 2011.
The network will initially have to use the 1,700MHz and 2,100MHz bands, Telus claimed. It considered this a "first stage" and didn't expect significant rural coverage unless it could win enough of an upcoming Industry Canada auction for 700MHz wireless spectrum. The lower frequency has much further range and better penetrates the indoors, making it better to reach a wide area as well as improve coverage even in urban areas.
Telus used the LTE plans to try and pitch the government, saying it hoped the auction would have an "equitable opportunity" for it to get 700MHz airspace. Its view echoed that of other incumbents Bell and Rogers and mostly reflected a resistance to auction rules that would require giving newcomers like Wind Mobile and Mobilicity a fair chance. The smaller carriers have warned they would almost certainly be locked out of viable 4G since the top three can easily outbid them at auction.
Using the 1,700MHz and 2,100MHz bands could force device makers to design their LTE hardware in different ways. Unlike with 3G, Canadian carriers won't automatically share the same frequencies as the US, where 700MHz is already in use, and might explicitly require multi-band modems, phones, and routers that cover both countries.