An Interesting Question: Will Bell/Telus Do Their 3G GSM Rollout Right?

For the last 24 hours or so, Rogers loss of exclusive rights to the iPhone has been the hot topic of conversation. But I think that people are talking about the wrong thing. What people should be talking about is something that frequent reader “Don” has clued in on:

“Sounds nice, but what is the extent of Bell’s new network AND does anyone trust they have done it correctly?”

An interesting question. First let me answer the question about the extent of Bell’s new network. According to, their 3G GSM network will cover 93% of the Canadian population.  Not too shabby and it should be in the same universe as Rogers GSM coverage if I recall correctly.

Now have they done it right? I think that the answer is yes for several reasons:

  • First, Bell is the Premier National Partner and Exclusive Telecommunications Partner for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (click here for all the details). I’m sure that there was a huge amount of pressure to get a GSM network up and running perfectly before the Olympics if for no other reason to make sure that athletes and IOC members don’t step off a plane in Vancouver and see “Rogers” on their smart phones.
  • Second, the revenue opportunities lost to Rogers because they don’t have a GSM network (be it lost phone sales or people not signing up with them because they are CDMA/EVDO rather than being GSM) have likely become a sore point with these two companies. A sore point that they had to fix.
  • Bell and Telus have only one chance to get this right, and I think they know it. If they screw this up, they might as well hand the entire Canadian cell phone market to Rogers as they will not get a second chance. That will force them to make sure that everything is just right.
  • Bell and Telus have agreed to carry the iPhone. Apple given it’s currently rocky relationship with AT&T is likely to make sure that this new network is just right before giving them the green light to sell the closest thing to a cash cow that Apple has.

So when this new network launches in November, I think that Canadians will find that the network is up, running, and is everywhere they need it to be. So the technology won’t be the problem. Things like customer service, pricing plans, and the like will be the issue. If Bell and Telus can nail that, Rogers will have a lot to fear.

We shall see in November.

5 Responses to “An Interesting Question: Will Bell/Telus Do Their 3G GSM Rollout Right?”

  1. Anybody who gets a GSM/HSPA phone from Telus or Bell are going to be getting a nasty surprise when venturing into Manitoba or Saskatchewan, Both Bell and Telus rent the networks of MTS and SaskTel which are CDMA only. While MTS may make a change to GSM/HSPA, SaskTel won’t they are making a switchover to a technology called UMTS. There will be no service unless Belus makes a roaming agreement with Rogers to offer service to service to those traveling to those provinces. As a Telus user in Regina I don’t know what is going to happen to my service when my contract is up in 2012.

    • Hi there Bill. Thanks for your reply. Do you have any sources for this as this is something that I have not heard before and would really be worth posting about.

  2. Justin Bur Says:

    HSPA is part of UMTS, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Both terms refer to the 3G evolution of the GSM platform.

    Belus does already have HSPA in Winnipeg. Coverage in the rest of Manitoba and Saskatchewan is promised for the end of 2010. (See the coverage page at

    The Belus HSPA network covers a much wider area than Rogers (outside MB/SK). However, Rogers customers can use their 3G handsets in a still wider area, since the 2.5G GSM/EDGE network fills in where Rogers has no HSPA yet. Belus has no such backup, as their 2.5G network is incompatible technology.

  3. tina armstrong Says:

    when will they put the lg keybo 2 to gsm?

  4. Coverage map is just advertise for you to sign up. It’s close to the end of March and no hspa in winnipeg yet.

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