Canadian telecom TELUS plans to launch its next generation, Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in early 2012, the company announced Wednesday. LTE technology supports manufacturers' rated peak download speeds of up to 150 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 70 Mbps. This initiative is made possible by the launch in 2009 of Canada's coast-to-coast HSPA+ wireless network, which today covers more than 95 per cent of the Canadian population.
Following field testing in 2011 and the completion of an RFP process currently underway, construction on TELUS' next generation, 4G+ LTE network will begin in the latter half of 2011 in major urban markets across Canada. TELUS' LTE network will operate on the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum that TELUS purchased for $882 million in Industry Canada's auction process in 2008. According to its press release, TELUS believes that the timing of its planned LTE launch in 2012 is appropriate and opportune given its desire to leverage the economies of scale in the manufacturing of LTE equipment, the hardening of LTE technology for market readiness, the progression in the development of LTE-capable data devices and smartphones and the need to synchronise the higher bandwidth capabilities of LTE with the accelerating appetite of clients for data rich services.
“TELUS' 4G+ LTE network build continues our strategy of technology leadership in our industry, providing our clients with some of the fastest and most expansive mobile broadband services anywhere in the world,” said Darren Entwistle, president and CEO of TELUS. “The LTE upgrade means our customers can enjoy even faster speeds when they want to be entertained on-the-go, stay connected with family and friends, visit their favourite social media sites, remain engaged with business contacts wherever they are, and access healthcare applications. TELUS is committed to utilizing our wireless spectrum and the technology that it enables, to offer our clients the most innovative multimedia solutions for their lifestyle, health, professional and public service pursuits.”
The launch of 4G+ over 1700/2100 MHz AWS spectrum is the first stage in the upgrade to LTE. While services offered in 2012 will begin the evolution to LTE in major urban centres, the completion of the rollout into rural Canada will be dependent on the Industry Canada auction of frequencies in the 700 MHz band. TELUS is committed to enhancing the coverage and capacity of its wireless network by building out 4G+ LTE technology extensively across rural Canada, using the 700 MHz wireless spectrum to be auctioned in 2012 to bring LTE capabilities to as many Canadians as possible. 700 MHz spectrum, in contrast to 1700/2100 MHz AWS spectrum, has superior propagation capabilities that make it effective and efficient in covering Canada's expansive rural geography. Moreover, these same capabilities improve the quality of in-building coverage in urban areas for the optimal performance of a mobile network in the physical landscape of a city setting.
“It will be critical for the Federal Government to enable an equitable opportunity for TELUS to acquire 700 MHz spectrum in the auction planned for late 2012 to support our plans to expand availability of 4G+ LTE wireless service to rural markets," Darren Entwistle, president and CEO of TELUS, said.
"TELUS is eager to play a leading role in bridging the digital divide between urban and rural Canada such that all Canadians can benefit from broadband wireless LTE technology," Entwhistle said. "The demand for mobile broadband is expanding at a tremendous rate and is a fundamental enabler for business productivity and the benefits consumers experience from the availability and ongoing development of thousands of creative mobile applications. Furthermore, the rollout of wireless broadband to as many Canadians as possible will elevate Canada's connectedness, expanding the reach of critical social services including the best technology, practices and expertise in healthcare and education.”
Entwistle added “Realistically, the magnitude and expansiveness of this rural build can only come to fruition with a wireless provider of TELUS' scale, operational capabilities and geographic reach and exemplary track record of delivering successive technology platforms to Canadians throughout the country.”