This week, Bell Mobility announced the launch of its newest 4G LTE network in parts of Canada. The roll out will start in several cities including Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph. The roll out follows many years of deployment by the wireless network, and will provide some of the best speeds available to mobile users of those towns.
This state of the art network uses the latest technology known as LTE, also often referred to as 4G. Very few networks around the world have been updated to support such high speeds, although most are working on it, and Bell Mobility hopes to be one of front runners in the industry. The speeds provided by this new technology will be at least 3 times higher than Bell’s HSPA+ network, the current network available to other cities.
Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Mobility, said: “LTE is the next step in ensuring Bell continues to deliver the best networks in the world to Canadian consumers and businesses.” It’s clear by the selected towns that the company is focusing on some of the technology centers of the country first. After this week’s roll out, they will be increasing the coverage of this new network to other cities throughout the rest of the year and 2012.
Some of the benefits of LTE includes higher download rates, but also allows things like high quality HD videos, video conferencing and VPN, things that typically were only available through wi-fi, since 3G speeds were not quite high enough in the past. Bell said they invest over $800 million in R&D each year in Canada, and the new network is a big part of that.
Not all Canadians are sure to benefit however. Bell said that they will be concentrating on urban centers first. The timing of rural roll out is however contingent on the outcome of the Government’s 700 MHz spectrum auction. This likely means a wait of several years for people outside city centers before they can get the new speed.
LTE, short for Long Term Evolution, is a mobile standard that provides up to 75 Mbps, although in practice the average is around 25 Mbps. That’s still faster than most home broadband connections such as cable or DSL. As the standard evolves, it’s expected to eventually reach up to 150 Mbps. In contrast, HSPA+ provides an average of 3 Mbps to 14 Mbps.
Bell worked with partners like Cisco, Huawei and Nokia to develop the systems currently deployed in the targeted cities, and says it is committed to bring the latest technologies to its customers. After the news hit, the stock of Bell Mobility climbed over 1.65% on the Toronto Exchange.