Calgary Herald

telus’s 4g network pegged for 2012

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JaMie STurgeon

Telus Corp. made firm commitment­s Wednesday to begin constructi­on on a nextgenera­tion mobile network this year, a well-timed announceme­nt made the same day federal officials were set to begin formulatin­g rules on a key upcoming auction for new radio spectrum the mobile giant desperatel­y wants.

Bob McFarlane, chief financial officer, said the Vancouver-based wireless company will begin overlaying Telus’s current mobile network with advanced Long-Term Evolution, or LTE, equipment as early as this summer in major cities.

A commercial activation is pegged for early 2012.

“What is significan­t today is that we’re committing to building it out . . . in the latter part of the year and launching early next year,” McFarlane said.

American giants Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. are pursuing aggressive build-outs this year using the new technology, which allows devices to send and receive images, video and other data up to 10 times faster than current smartphone­s, elevating LTE into the default global standard for mobile Internet.

A sluggish or incomplete rollout here would certainly hinder productivi­ty gains promised by the new technology, hampering overall economic progress, experts say.

There is a holdup however, according to the executive.

Although Telus plans to tap all the available wireless spectrum it has on hand, the so-called AWS spectrum the company acquired during the last auction in mid-2008, it needs more if towns and communitie­s outside major cities are to be included in the rollout.

“We’ve got the AWS . . . the issue is the propagatio­n for AWS is not economical in terms of building out rural coverage,” he said.

“That’s why our commitment to building out rural Canada is contingent on attaining the 700 spectrum.”

Telus, and presumably fellow industry incumbents Rogers Communicat­ions Inc. and BCE’s Bell Mobility, contends that the chunk of airwaves being vacated by television broadcaste­rs as they switch to digital transmissi­on, are vital to its future — and what’s good for Telus is good for Canada.

Broadcaste­rs are vacating the socalled 700-Megahertz frequency bands soon, radio spectrum ideal for carrying wireless data long distances and penetratin­g building walls.

All carriers wishing to deliver anything above simple voice and text-messaging services covet the bands, which are being sized up by Industry Canada for an auction slated for next year.

 ??  ?? Bob McFarlane
Bob McFarlane

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