There’s no question that LTE is where the cellphone providers are headed, and every major company has been busy rolling out their 4G support over the past years. In Canada, all the major providers are at some point in their roll out, and now Telus is joining the party, announcing that their own new 4G high speed network is ready to launch. While LTE is still a rather recent technology, the big companies like Bell and Rogers have had their own networks turned on for some time now. Is Telus late to the party, or is what they are providing worth the wait?
LTE is a very important part of the future of cellphones, because it offers very important speed upgrades for data over the air. Where 3G was a big upgrade over 2G and EDGE, 4G is once again a big leap forward, and many customers are eager to get on board. Indeed, every survey shows that people use their smartphones for more data usage than ever before, by going on social networks, watching videos, and more. With an LTE device, everything comes down quicker. In this initial roll out, Telus said that their high speed network will be available in 14 urban centers. This is consistent with how other companies have been delivering their own service, and it’s likely that this coverage will expand as months and years pass. For now, some of the covered areas include Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. The speed upgrade announced by the company is around 12 to 25 Mbps, or twice the speed of their current 3G devices, which is fairly consistent with other companies as well.
Of course, with a new network, you need new devices. Telus has long been using CDMA based technology, and LTE requires completely different antennas and chips. As such, you will likely have to get a new device even if you’re in a covered area. For now, Telus is offering only 3 devices that can take advantage of the 4G speeds: a USB key, a Samsung tablet, and the LG Optimus smartphone. This is a bit shy of what the other large players are now offering, but they promise more choice will be coming down the line. Telus has always been in an advantageous position however being able to offer both land line phones and wireless, which can help them retain customers even if they don’t have access to the latest technology right away. Indeed, accoding to their recently released Q4 results, their $2.7 billion revenue showed a 6.5% growth in their wireless customers, and many of them go for the more expensive smartphones. Data usage on the network grew by close to 43%.
Overall, there’s no question that even as 3rd or 4th player in the wireless field, Telus is holding its own, and seeing their business grow. They may be a bit late to the game with LTE, but now that they are rolling their network out, there’s no question that people will be taking advantage of the faster speeds.