Bell Mobility yesterday launched commercial services over a 3.5G HSPA/HSPA+ network, with its infrastructure sharing partner Telus scheduled to launch its own range of services over the network today. Bell claims that the new HSPA+ network is four times larger than rival Rogers’ HSPA+ footprint, based on total square kilometres of coverage. Bell and Telus’ new 3.5G network offers peak data speeds of 21Mbps for laptop, PDA and handset users, and covers 20,000 urban and rural locations and more than 1.2 million square kilometres, serving 93% of the population. On its website Bell advertises international roaming in 200 countries as well as dedicated voice and data channels for high-quality network performance. Until yesterday Rogers was Canada’s sole GSM/W-CDMA/HSPA/HSPA+ network operator, competing against Telus and Bell’s nationwide CDMA2000 1xEV-DO services. The EV-DO networks currently have wider coverage than the network partners’ new HSPA-based system, but plans are in place to fill in coverage in areas such as Saskatchewan (in partnership with SaskTel).
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