Remote analogue users left speechless by Telus

17 Sep 2008

Telus began shutting down sections of its analogue AMPS cellular network on Monday, and plans to close down the entire legacy system in the coming weeks, which it admits will leave some people living in remote areas without any phone services. Spokesperson for the western Canadian cellco Shawn Hall said the company had no choice but to discontinue AMPS services as it was running out of replacement equipment and could not buy parts because no one made them anymore. He added there were ‘a few thousand’ Telus customers still using analogue handsets, and admitted that some ‘very, very small rural communities’ could not receive digital CDMA mobile signals. Areas covered only by analogue wireless networks include mountainous parts of British Columbia, which also have no access to fixed line telephony. Hall said Telus is examining potential ways to help remote users, including providing phones with more sensitive antennas or installing technology to boost digital signals; the existing alternative for such users would be to buy an expensive satellite phone. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Telus’s AMPS network was launched in 1986 and was originally scheduled to be decommissioned in March 2008. Its CDMA2000-based digital network now covers 75% of the population, and 97% via roaming agreements with fellow CDMA-based operator Bell Canada, whilst its 3G 1xEV-DO overlay provides mobile data services to over 60% of the population. It also operates an iDEN network with around 71% population coverage, and is currently examining the possibility of partnering Bell to roll out a nationwide GSM/W-CDMA/HSPA network to compete directly with GSM-based rival Rogers.

Canada, Telus Mobility (old)