• Bell HSPA coming to Manitoba August 1st

    Just got a tip that Bell's HSPA is launching in Manitoba August 1st.

    The roll-out will happen in 2 phases: Phase 1 will include Winnipeg, Oakbank, Stonewall, Selkirk, Steinbach and cover 69% of the Manitoba market while phase 2 will include Brandon and Portage La Prairie and increase the coverage to 74%.



    The coverage will be different from what you get on CDMA plus you can't fall back onto CDMA if you're on HSPA so you won't be able to get any calls/data/SMS when you leave the coverage area.

    Thanks tipster!

    bell hspa.pdf
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Bell HSPA coming to Manitoba August 1st started by howard View original post
    Comments 44 Comments
    1. RogersUser1's Avatar
      RogersUser1 -
      Looks good. Does this mean 3G can also function on this network (iPhone4)?

      Too bad they did not set up to set down onto CDMA, since the iPhone4S is GSM as well as CDMA capable when outside HSPA coverage.
    1. WorldIRC's Avatar
      WorldIRC -
      Quote Originally Posted by RogersUser1 View Post
      Looks good. Does this mean 3G can also function on this network (iPhone4)?

      Too bad they did not set up to set down onto CDMA, since the iPhone4S is GSM as well as CDMA capable when outside HSPA coverage.
      CDMA = MTS
      HSPA = Bell

      The two technologies do not interoperate within Canada, nevermind in MB being two separate carriers. Even MTS iPhone does not fallback to CDMA.
    1. RightThere's Avatar
      RightThere -
      So will it allow HSPA roaming still? I was there a number of months back and my phone was allowed to roam (on Telus HSPA I assume?) Coverage was halfway decent.
    1. RogersUser1's Avatar
      RogersUser1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by WorldIRC View Post
      CDMA = MTS
      HSPA = Bell

      The two technologies do not interoperate within Canada, nevermind in MB being two separate carriers. Even MTS iPhone does not fallback to CDMA.
      Last I checked Bell still operates a CDMA network, although they don't sign up new CDMA phones anymore. If you have a Telus CDMA device and you are in a Bell CDMA area, you are on Bell's CDMA network. Also sprint roams onto this network for CDMA handsets, there may be others I'm not sure.

      Would be nice if all the carriers with access to a functioning CDMA network (Bell, Telus, MTS) would allow 4S to step down to CDMA when outside UMTS/HSPA/LTE, since MB coverage is still quite bad. But I realize nobody does this in Canada. Are there simply not enough CDMA devices anymore?
    1. WorldIRC's Avatar
      WorldIRC -
      Quote Originally Posted by RogersUser1 View Post
      Last I checked Bell still operates a CDMA network, although they don't sign up new CDMA phones anymore. If you have a Telus CDMA device and you are in a Bell CDMA area, you are on Bell's CDMA network. Also sprint roams onto this network for CDMA handsets, there may be others I'm not sure.

      Would be nice if all the carriers with access to a functioning CDMA network (Bell, Telus, MTS) would allow 4S to step down to CDMA when outside UMTS/HSPA/LTE, since MB coverage is still quite bad. But I realize nobody does this in Canada. Are there simply not enough CDMA devices anymore?
      Bell operates a CDMA network in provinces other than SK and MB. They do still sign up new lines on the CDMA network. I'm not sure what you're trying to argue here...there is a technological reason why the carriers have chosen to not offer dual-band service on both CDMA and HSPA at the same time. There are many billing system issues as to why this cannot happen (the way CDMA works is very different than HSPA); the handoff / transition process would be pretty ugly.

      Bell also does not operate a CDMA network in Manitoba; they roam on MTS. As Bell HSPA and MTS CDMA have ZERO RELATIONSHIP WHATSOEVER, and as Bell Manitoba HSPA customers are NOT AUTHORIZED TO ACCESS MTS SERVICES IN ANY FASHION (except 911), it will be impossible for the iPhone 4S in Bell to roam on MTS, despite whatever technologies the handset may support.

      Even if a hybrid HSPA / CDMA configuration were allowed, this could only exist in provinces other than SK and MB, where Bell is the provider of both services.
    1. RogersUser1's Avatar
      RogersUser1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by WorldIRC View Post
      Bell operates a CDMA network in provinces other than SK and MB. They do still sign up new lines on the CDMA network. I'm not sure what you're trying to argue here...there is a technological reason why the carriers have chosen to not offer dual-band service on both CDMA and HSPA at the same time. There are many billing system issues as to why this cannot happen (the way CDMA works is very different than HSPA); the handoff / transition process would be pretty ugly.

      Bell also does not operate a CDMA network in Manitoba; they roam on MTS. As Bell HSPA and MTS CDMA have ZERO RELATIONSHIP WHATSOEVER, and as Bell Manitoba HSPA customers are NOT AUTHORIZED TO ACCESS MTS SERVICES IN ANY FASHION (except 911), it will be impossible for the iPhone 4S in Bell to roam on MTS, despite whatever technologies the handset may support.

      Even if a hybrid HSPA / CDMA configuration were allowed, this could only exist in provinces other than SK and MB, where Bell is the provider of both services.
      Thanks, this is quite informative. I guess this explains why nobody sells the iPhone4 CDMA version here. So what are the reasons that Bell does not offer both services in MB and SK? Just never built a network?, or is it about MTS and Sasktel government monopoly protection? On a carrier offering both services, why is the handoff ugly? In the US Verizon offers both services correct? Is the handoff difficult on that network, why/why not?
    1. WorldIRC's Avatar
      WorldIRC -
      Again, it really becomes a matter of a few factors:

      1. The iPhone is the only device in Canada that supports both CDMA and HSPA
      2. Because of 1, the billing system and switch are not and cannot be provisioned to operate on both at the same time.
      3. Because of 2, how would the system even know when to hand off from HSPA to CDMA...the networks overlay each other.

      Like I said, it would be ugly.

      Verizon is a bad example, because on Verizon, data flows over LTE, but voice flows over CDMA; similar to here except LTE / HSPA. On Sprint, data flows over WiMax / 4G and voice flows over CDMA as well.

      There are political reasons why up until recent, Bell did not have native service in SK and MB. Perhaps someone can tell you the story if you're really interested....
    1. VivienM's Avatar
      VivienM -
      Quote Originally Posted by RogersUser1 View Post
      On a carrier offering both services, why is the handoff ugly? In the US Verizon offers both services correct? Is the handoff difficult on that network, why/why not?
      Other than maybe some Australian carriers, Bell/Telus (and I guess Sasktel/MTS/etc which followed) are the only carriers to have gone CDMA -> UMTS/HSPA -> LTE. The American carriers like Verizon are going CDMA -> LTE, and I understand that when Qualcomm killed UMB, things were added to LTE to enable interoperation with CDMA networks.

      Basically, Bell/Telus were in a rather unusual position that
      a) they were getting their asses kicked in the marketplace due to the most popular devices not being available (iPhone) or being late (some BlackBerries) or being slow (data sticks) for CDMA,
      b) they had, especially when pooled together, enough unused 850/1900MHz spectrum that they could build a completely different network (Verizon doesn't have that luxury)
      c) they had relatively few partners on whom they depended for key coverage. Primarily Sasktel, which went along with the UMTS move a year later, and MTS/TBTel, which also embraced UMTS, buuuuuuut got into bed with Rogers, leaving Bell/Telus with two big coverage holes. (If they could get UMTS devices which fall back on CDMA, that would have avoided that problem, along with other coverage issues, but no one makes such devices)
      (oh, and d) I suspect the back end for LTE is fairly similar to that required for a modern HSPA network)
      ... so they decided to throw a big amount of money on an extremely unorthodox migration.

      (Years later, Apple would launch a phone that at least on paper supports both CDMA and UMTS on 850/1900. But not only are Bell/Telus' provisioning systems not set up for it, but we don't even know if Apple's software, Qualcomm's firmware, etc. would enable this extremely unorthodox setup)
    1. VivienM's Avatar
      VivienM -
      Quote Originally Posted by RogersUser1 View Post
      Would be nice if all the carriers with access to a functioning CDMA network (Bell, Telus, MTS) would allow 4S to step down to CDMA when outside UMTS/HSPA/LTE, since MB coverage is still quite bad. But I realize nobody does this in Canada. Are there simply not enough CDMA devices anymore?
      I loved that idea too... but at the end of the day, we don't even know if the Apple/Qualcomm software can do it.

      And I get the sense that, in layman's terms, the network is roughly set up like this:
      1. Phone call comes in for 416-xxx-xxxx.
      2. Switch looks up whether 416-xxx-xxxx is an HSPA or CDMA subscriber
      3. Call is relayed onto the appropriate network
      That kind of structure doesn't really allow for the same device to be used on both networks...

      If there were carriers doing UMTS and CDMA together in a larger market, then maybe 3GPP, Apple, Qualcomm, etc. would do something to enable this to work. But right now, Apple is treating Telus/Bell as Just Another GSM/UMTS Carrier (except for removing the 'enable 3G' option).

      [The other thing is, of course, I presume Bell/Telus could go to Apple, get the CDMA-flavoured iPhone 4S, and provision it as a straight CDMA device. But other than people who go through northern Ontario and Manitoba, who would want that?]
    1. RogersUser1's Avatar
      RogersUser1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by VivienM View Post
      [The other thing is, of course, I presume Bell/Telus could go to Apple, get the CDMA-flavoured iPhone 4S, and provision it as a straight CDMA device. But other than people who go through northern Ontario and Manitoba, who would want that?]
      Yes I see your point, the number of people needing that is extremely small. I'm in the minority position of having an iPhone4 on Telus in Winnipeg, and when I drive to Regina I get no service from Portage to the SK border. This affects very few people.

      When you say CDMA-flavored iPhone4S, are you talking about iPhone4? There is only one version of 4S as far as I know, and it is CDMA and GSM capable.
    1. VivienM's Avatar
      VivienM -
      Quote Originally Posted by RogersUser1 View Post
      When you say CDMA-flavored iPhone4S, are you talking about iPhone4? There is only one version of 4S as far as I know, and it is CDMA and GSM capable.
      As far as I know, there is one hardware design of the 4S.

      But I believe in the U.S. there are always separate SKUs for the CDMA carriers (even at the Apple store). Is this about locking? About Sprint/Verizon only wanting to activate phones whose ESNs they know ahead of time? Or could it be that the Sprint/Verizon ones are preloaded with a slightly different iOS image or baseband from the international 'GSM' flavour?

      The Qualcomm chip in there can do CDMA 800/1900, UMTS 850/900/1900/2100 and GSM. But who knows whether it can do all of those at once? Maybe there's a 'CDMA 800/1900, UMTS 900/2100' mode that's enabled for Sprint/Verizon domestic/international use, and a separate 'UMTS 850/1900/900/2100' mode that's used elsewhere.

      Point being, we don't know if an off-the-shelf iPhone 4S sitting in a Telus store is capable of being set up as a CDMA (CDMA-only, that is) device even if, say, the VP of Engineering wanted it for use at his family home in rural Manitoba.

      Note one other thing: Apple says that the non-US models can't roam on CDMA, I believe. Is this a network-side business or technical issue (i.e. European carriers have no roaming agreements with CDMA carriers because only one phone can take advantage of it?), or a device limitation (the non-US model is missing 'something' that means it can't be used on Verizon/Sprint even with the right network provisioning)?

      At the end of the day, we're facing a simple reality: the only carriers that could potentially use a device that can simultaneously do CDMA 800/1900, UMTS 850/1900 are Bell/Telus/Sasktel/etc. The only carriers that buy the 'standard' UMTS iPhone SKU who might also want to buy the CDMA flavour are... Bell/Telus/Sasktel/etc, and they'd probably want a few hundred CDMA-flavoured ones. Not exactly a priority for Qualcomm/Apple.
    1. Hans_Moleman's Avatar
      Hans_Moleman -
      I'm a bit surprised, but Bell's bringing a store to Brandon. I thought that their Source stores would be the defacto Bell Stores, especially as going to a The Source is pretty depressing when looking for phones - displays have spots for over a dozen phones, but there's only 2-3 phones in the displays

      http://i.imgur.com/WYXR0.jpg
    1. Azure1203's Avatar
      Azure1203 -
      Perhaps the HSPA service in Brandon is going to be turned on sooner than we think.
    1. Positive Climb's Avatar
      Positive Climb -
      Are these seriously the only plans they offer? http://www.bell.ca/Mobility/Cell_pho...and_Data_plans

      Might just as well go with Telus and get a much better deal + same coverage.
    1. WorldIRC's Avatar
      WorldIRC -
      ^There are other plan categories; most Bell plans are available in MB, including the $60 Fab 10.

      The website is probably just incomplete or "maybe" there will be regional promos to compete.
    1. Hans_Moleman's Avatar
      Hans_Moleman -
      Plans really aren't any great. If MTS actually got their heads out of their derrieres and got phones that people actually want (with the plans they currently have), MTS wouldn't really have anything to worry about, but not everyone wants an old device, an iPhone or Blackberry.
    1. Azure1203's Avatar
      Azure1203 -
      And on the same page, of Bell/Telus would get similar coverage, they could easily steal a lot of customers from MTS.
    1. Derfel's Avatar
      Derfel -
      Quote Originally Posted by Hans_Moleman View Post
      Plans really aren't any great. If MTS actually got their heads out of their derrieres and got phones that people actually want (with the plans they currently have), MTS wouldn't really have anything to worry about, but not everyone wants an old device, an iPhone or Blackberry.
      I think if MTS pulls in a decent modern Android phone or two, and keeps bringing in the newest iPhones, they will be the dominant player in Manitoba like they are now. Bell won't be much of a threat at all.

      Sent from my A501 using Tapatalk 2
    1. Hans_Moleman's Avatar
      Hans_Moleman -
      Quote Originally Posted by Derfel View Post
      I think if MTS pulls in a decent modern Android phone or two, and keeps bringing in the newest iPhones, they will be the dominant player in Manitoba like they are now. Bell won't be much of a threat at all.

      Sent from my A501 using Tapatalk 2
      Bring in a Nexus and a (near) top of the line Samsung and that will satisfy just about enough people. The Koodo and Virgin 6GB plans interest me as my plan will be more expensive than that plan this time next month, but coverage is #1 for me. I do think one day we will see Telus (and with that, Bell) push for more towers sprinkled all over the province, but that won't happen if they fail at attracting customers.

      I'm still twidling my thumbs waiting to see if/when Wind will come to Manitoba, apparently when it launches in MB, it's both Brandon and Winnipeg. But hey, with Telus (and Koodo) and Bell (and Virgin) now soon in the Brandon market (and Bell in Winnipeg), I hope this pushes for competition reminiscent of the $10 voice plan way back when
    1. Positive Climb's Avatar
      Positive Climb -
      Quote Originally Posted by Derfel View Post
      I think if MTS pulls in a decent modern Android phone or two, and keeps bringing in the newest iPhones, they will be the dominant player in Manitoba like they are now. Bell won't be much of a threat at all.

      Sent from my A501 using Tapatalk 2
      We're not talking about MTS. Keep MTS discussions in the MTS forum please.

      Just because you live outside of the coverage zone doesn't mean the rest of Manitoba does.