iPhone to go multi-carrier in Canada next month

Reports from The Globe and Mail indicate that the iPhone will go multi-carrier next month in Canada, opening up to Bell and Telus. Previously only Rogers and Fido, both operating under Rogers, have owned the exclusive contract from Apple to sell the iPhone in Canada, under their GSM network.

Bell and Telus, both companies recently joined to create a larger HSPA (high-speed packet access network) in Canada, will soon be able to offer consumers the Apple iPhone 3GS, as early as next month.

Currently both companies operate under the CDMA channels, while Rogers and Fido operate under the popular GSM/HSPA network. Bell is said to be building a $1 billion HSPA network, that will be ready in November for consumers, allowing them to sell the iPhone in Canada.

Canada will soon join other countries, such as the UK, who sell the iPhone through multiple carriers. AT&T still seems to hold an exclusive contract to the iPhone in the U.S., preventing other companies from offering the phone until the contract has ended.

Thanks to Brian Blasius for contributing to this report

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36 Comments

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I'm still not sure how I feel about this. I'm very happy with my Rogers service and reception, so I'm thinking it can only get better. I doubt having Bellus on the same network bands will interfere any, so that's good. Hopefully this will drive Rogers to lower prices or have more promotions, though. Competition is always a good thing in this industry!

Me too. I've had AT&T before and didn't like them. I won't go back which is why I can't get an iPhone. Come on Apple, get some other U.S. carriers!!

Shadrack said,
I wish US had more iPhone carriers. AT&T sucks.

count yourself lucky, we only have Rogers, Bell and Telus

And also from Telus.
Source: Telus Press Release

Based on my understanding so far, and this could change, existing customers on 1X/EVDO must wait until the end of their term to switch to UMTS/HSPA+ ... I don't quite know how they'll make that work, since if somebody renews a contract but is not at the end of their term yet, will they be forced to get a new 1X phone? That's just plain silly!

Finally! Right now I have EDGE only in my area (outside 3G coverage by like 5km) and Bell/Tellus already have their network up here (I see it on my iPhone) so that means I will get 3G where I am now ... I am totally going to be ditching Rogers. I hate them.

Telus & Bell are launching a 3G UMTS/HSPA+ (21 Mbps) network on the 850/1900 band across Canada sometime in November. They will not have 2G GSM/EDGE to fall back on, so their network has to have far better 3G coverage than Rogers, as that is the only type of coverage a Telus or Bell HSPA phone will be able to use. The network went live on Sep 2nd, and has been under testing by select clients since then.

All Rogers 3G UMTS/HSPA handsets will work on the network, as Rogers also has a 3G UMTS/HSPA (7.2 Mbps) network on the 850/1900 band, in addition to their 2G GSM/EDGE network. Rogers has upgraded parts of Toronto to HSPA+ but plans to upgrade Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Montreal sometime in the future as well. Bell and Telus are launching HSPA+ across the country right off the bat, and the coverage will be significantly better than Rogers'

The iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS will work on the Telus/Bell network, but the original iPhone will not since it's 2G-only. No GSM-only phones will work, since this is not a GSM network. Only UMTS/HSPA phones on the 850/1900 band will work, which is pretty much every phone currently sold by Rogers.

now only if we could vote up this comment! good post for everybody to read.

if i read articles in the past correctly, this HSPA+ network would be running on top of Bell & Telus's CDMA networks.

Now if i'm not mistaken by this... HSPA+ is intended for data where gsm and cdma are for voice. I guess we'll see what Apple plans to do with their phone... and what the networks can do.

some_guy, no. The new Telus/Bell UMTS/HSPA+ network will have nothing to do with GSM or CDMA. UMTS/HSPA+ does both voice and data and the new phones will NOT be able to use any GSM network or the existing 1X/EVDO CDMA network for either voice or data.

GSM/EDGE is the older 2G network used by Rogers. On a newer phone from Rogers, if the 3G UMTS/HSPA coverage is lost, the phone will fall back on the old 2G GSM/EDGE network. Bell and Telus have not installed the older network, so the phone will not have anything to fall back on, but thankfully their network coverage is the same as their existing CDMA network since they have installed the new UMTS/HSPA+ antennas next to their existing CDMA antennas, but they are not linked in any way other than being installed side-by-side.

There wasn't a lot of fanfare (or at least any that i heard of) but Rogers actually already launched their hpsa+ a few weeks ago in 5 cities:

"TORONTO (ON) September 14, 2009 Rogers Wireless today announced the commercial availability of Rogers' next generation super-charged High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) network in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, clocking in at maximum speeds of 21 Megabits per second (Mbps)"

sabrex said,
some_guy, no. The new Telus/Bell UMTS/HSPA+ network will have nothing to do with GSM or CDMA. UMTS/HSPA+ does both voice and data and the new phones will NOT be able to use any GSM network or the existing 1X/EVDO CDMA network for either voice or data.

GSM/EDGE is the older 2G network used by Rogers. On a newer phone from Rogers, if the 3G UMTS/HSPA coverage is lost, the phone will fall back on the old 2G GSM/EDGE network. Bell and Telus have not installed the older network, so the phone will not have anything to fall back on, but thankfully their network coverage is the same as their existing CDMA network since they have installed the new UMTS/HSPA+ antennas next to their existing CDMA antennas, but they are not linked in any way other than being installed side-by-side.


What about the remote areas that Telus currently offers service, say the north end of Vancouver Island. Will new antenna be going up there as well? Or just maybe sometime in the future?

If only it would have come out before July I ended up getting an Android phone (great phone) but I didn't really want to go with Rogers (but they had the best smart phones...)

Last I heard it was due this year, but it is October already.. I believe they are going to renew the contract again, something I am completely against because AT&T can't handle the load.

i have to figure out if im gonna have to get a new plan if i change handsets. my current BB plan is too good to give up. $15 for Unlimited (no 6gb bs here) web, email, bbm, msn, data etc.)

The neowin sum up article says that telus/bell is launching a GSM network. This is untrue. Its an hspa network. The version telus/bell (belus) is using is based on UMTS (Correct me if I'm wrong). If you think you'd be able to pop a telus/bell sim card into any rogers phone and use it, you're dead wrong. Only a handful of handsets with HSPA bands are compatible.

Also for those wondering if wind/DAVE will have iPhone, no. There are no AWS iPhones (as of yet), and there may never be.

Added:

Also, there is no evidence whatsoever saying that rogers had an exclusivity deal with apple. Rogers was the only one to carry it because iphones at the time were GSM only.

edit: spelling, grammer and clarity.

Corrected.
I said GSM when I should of said HSPA.

Rogers/Fido use the GSM/HSPA network, while Bell/Telus are building a large HSPA network for Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Rogers will just lower their prices. Bellus (Bell + Telus) doesn't offer much cheaper prices...
It will be interesting to see a "dramatic" price drop for no reason from Rogers in the coming months. Probably call it a holiday bundle.

the1himself said,
lol calm down now :P

i wonder if wind mobile will carry it...


A definite no. At least 50+ people have asked the same question on wirelesssoapbox and windmobile.ca.


The answer is always:

no, no, no, no, no