With the CDMA evolution pathway coming to a veritable dead-stop in the next few years, it’s been safe to assume that CDMA carriers in North America would be jumping on board the 4G LTE bandwagon in the next decade. There’s been much speculation about Telus and Bell Canada adopting the GSM evolution pathway for their next generation networks over the past months, and today it all comes to a head.
Following on an interview from a Telus exec that had the Canadian carrier considering LTE as the standard of choice for their future data network, both Telus and Bell have announced that they’ll be launching GSM service in 2010. Both carriers will be rolling out 3G HSPA networks on a fresh GSM backbone in 2010, as both Telus and Bell prepare to eventually offer 4G LTE service.
Rather than rely on their CDMA network to handle the brunt of wireless demand until LTE comes online, Bell and Telus will be offering subscribers a GSM-option (3G HSPA) alongside CDMA. By layering their HSPA network over their CDMA network, the Canadian carriers hope to make the transition to GSM technology as smooth and painless as possible for their customers.
“Bell’s transition to the global 4G LTE standard with a combined EV-DO and HSPA network path aligns us with more than 30 major carriers worldwide planning a similar move to LTE,” said Stephen Howe, CTO for Bell. “This broad global technology ecosystem will mean a fast, efficient and cost-effective network transition to 4G LTE, and access to the broadest possible range of next-generation phones and data services.”
The adoption of HSPA will expand the roaming agreement that both Bell and Telus have had in place since 2001. With Rogers’ essentially monopolizing the Canadian GSM market, Bell and Telus are working to help eachother grow into their GSM-britches. In the next couple years, we’re likely to see the Canadian market undergo a significant shakeup. More GSM competition means Canadian consumers will see the cost of wireless voice and data service drop as carriers battle for market-share.
Your next mobile phone might just be a GSM handset on Bell or Telus. Cue the champagne!