Canadian cableco Eastlink today launches commercial mobile services over its own 4G network, with the opening of its first mobile retail outlet at its flagship store in Halifax, Nova Scotia, reports the Globe & Mail. Matthew MacLellan, Eastlink’s wireless president, gave some insight on why Eastlink took so long to launch after winning 2100MHz licences in 19 zones across its maritime core region, Ontario and Alberta, costing CAD25.6 million (USD25.6 million), in 2008. MacLellan said: ‘We thought there was a great opportunity for us to watch other new entrants heading into the marketplace, learn from them and learn from the competitive reaction to how they launched.’ Eastlink has opted to launch a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband network to steal a march on the other new mobile market entrants who acquired spectrum in the 2008 auction, who currently all offer 3G-based services. Eastlink’s smartphone line-up at launch includes the Sony Xperia T, Samsung Galaxy S III, LG Nexus 4, BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Curve; it will launch the new BlackBerry 10 next month, although it will not offer the iPhone. It is also focusing on discounted multi-play bundles of TV, mobile and fixed broadband/telephony. Over the coming weeks, Eastlink’s mobile services will go on sale at existing retail outlets across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (PEI), while it plans to open at least six new stores over the next twelve to 18 months. The company previously said it would roll out 350 3G/4G cell sites across Nova Scotia and PEI. EastLink’s cable TV, broadband and telephony operations cover nine Canadian provinces, and it has roughly 550,000 TV subscribers.
Another Canadian cableco Shaw Communications last month agreed to sell its 2100MHz spectrum acquired in the 2008 auction, having finally given up on plans to roll out its own cellular network.