Category Archives: Telecom

Another national cellular carrier for Canada?

The Globe and Mail reports that:

The market is abuzz with speculation the federal government may recommend creating a fourth national wireless carrier. It’s seen as a way for Ottawa to stimulate competition — the percentage of Canadians with cellphone service lags the United States and other countries.

Canada currently has three national carriers – Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility and Telus – there are also resellers such as Virgin Mobile Canada that use other carriers’ networks (Bell’s network in the case of Virgin).

Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) cell phones support GSM and Wi-Fi

New Unlicensed Mobile Access (or UMA) cell phones from manufacturers such as Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson are expected to deliver connectivity to both the traditional cell phone infrastructure (through GSM) and to VOIP services through Wi-Fi. However, its yet to be seen whether such functionality will provide competition and lower rates for consumers or whether these devices will be sucked up through exclusive deals by the dominant cell phone companies in the North American market, with the VOIP functionality tied to their networks. In other words, they’ll automatically switch to the cell phone operator’s VOIP service when used inside the home or in the office where cellular connectivity may be weak but where a strong wi-fi signal may be available, but won’t necessarily offer lower rates for such usage. To get the best of both worlds, I suspect early adopters will still need to carry two phones.

Unfair Wireless Contracts

A recent change by Fido to their their service agreement has been the subject of discussion on HowardForums. Most users posting comments didn’t seem too happy about Fido being able to made changes that are to their detriment during the term of the agreement. However, this type of thing is common in “contracts of adhesion”, particularly those used by telecom companies. Although I have not checked the contracts used by Rogers, Telus or Bell, I suspect they all have similar provisions.
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Rogers definition of “Unlimited”

Alec Saunders has an excellent posting about an issue he is having with Rogers. It seems he purchased an unlimited wireless data plan but Rogers had put a footnote/hyperlink on the word “unlimited” stating that they would charge an additional per MB fee for any usage above 25 MB. In my view, the right thing to do would be to define such a plan as a “power user” plan and avoid redefining English terms to mean something different than what they are commonly understood to mean.

Rogers to expand UMTS / HSDPA

Rogers announced that they will be expanding their current Universal Mobile Telephone System/High-Speed Packet Access (UMTS/HSDPA) deployment. According to Rogers, the system will leapfrog the EVDO wireless data technology being offered by Bell/Telus and provide speeds that are up to twice as fast. Rogers is hoping for a commercial launch in the fall of this year.