Bermuda Digital Communications (CellularOne) has reportedly launched a ‘4G’ mobile network – claiming a first for the nation. At a press conference yesterday, the firm’s chief operating officer Frank Amaral confirmed that as a result of the upgrade users would be able to benefit from maximum theoretical downloads of 21Mbps on its HSPA+ network. There is however, disagreement on whether or not the technology is a true 4G service, even though the ITU recently ruled that ‘technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third-generation systems now deployed’ such as HSPA+, can now be considered as such.
The cellco has already achieved real time data transmission speeds of between 10Mbps and 12Mbps and says that CellularOne customers will be automatically upgraded to the new network ‘at no charge’. It hopes to begin offering 4G handsets later this year, Mr Amaral added. Rival operator Digicel also utilises HSPA+ on its network but describes its network as 3G+. The cellco hopes to migrate to Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the future – once handsets become available – and has contracted Swedish supplier Ericsson for the overlay. Bermuda’s third mobile player, M3 Wireless, entered the 3G arena in March 2010 and has plans to upgrade to 3.5G in the near future.