Bell Mobility will today launch commercial 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband services for laptop users in selected areas of Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph, promising typical data speeds ranging between 12Mbps and 25Mbps (with peak theoretical speeds of up to 75Mbps). Bell is also touting its LTE network as offering ‘HD quality online TV and video; wireless videoconferencing and chat with quality previously available only on wireline or high speed Wi-Fi connections; unprecedented mobile download times for apps, large attachments, presentations and apps (with VPN compatibility for secure file access); and significantly improved mobile gaming video quality’.
Customers can buy Bell LTE/HSPA+ Turbo Stick laptop modems now, and will be able to purchase LTE/HSPA+-capable smartphones and tablet computers later this year. The 4G LTE Sierra Wireless U313 Turbo Stick is available for CAD79.95 (USD80.60) on a three-year contract (CAD219.95 with no term contract). In the coming weeks, Bell will add the 4G LTE Novatel Wireless U679 Turbo Stick. LTE data plans start at CAD45 a month for 1.5GB with price automatically adjusted based on actual monthly data usage.
Bell claims its LTE network is the first in Canada to automatically hand off users to the next fastest speed available when outside LTE areas, either Dual Carrier (DC) HSPA+ (peak 42Mbps, typical 7Mbps-14Mbps) or HSPA+ (peak 21Mbps, typical 3.5Mbps-8Mbps). HSPA+ coverage reaches over 96% of the population (70% covered by DC-HSPA+).
Bell’s 4G LTE rollout will continue to additional urban markets this year and through 2012, with rural and remote coverage deployments contingent on the outcome of Industry Canada’s 700MHz spectrum auction.
Bell is the second operator in Canada to launch LTE, following Rogers Communications’ introduction of the 4G technology in Ottawa in July. Bell is the first to provide LTE in Toronto, where Rogers plans to expand its commercial network at the end of September.