OPINION: Telus will switch to GSM; Bell’s not the only traffic-shaper

So Telus has now confirmed what we’ve all known for months — that it’s pondering switching from CDMA to GSM wireless technology.

The rumour has been floating around for some time. Back when it first surfaced, I wrote here that given the cost of infrastructure and replacement handsets for customers, in Telus’s shoes, I’d wait it out until LTE is ready for prime time. On the other hand, I don’t run a telco, and there are probably many, many good reasons for that.

In terms of public statements, Telus is one of your more reticent companies. “We are not in the practice of commenting on rumours and speculation,” is the refrain when addressing a subject that’s not carved in granite. A couple months ago, that was, word for word, the reply I received when I asked for confirmation that the decision to move to GSM had in fact been made, a nugget I’d picked up from someone “familiar with the situation” as they say. Rumour and speculation and impossible to confirm, of course.

But it’s just that close-to-the-vest policy on public pronouncements that convinces me — and I’ve spoken to analysts who agree — that by confirming that Telus is considering the switch to GSM, the company is as good as confirming that it will switch to GSM.

* On a completely different topic … much hay is being made over Bell’s P2P-throttling traffic-shaping policy. Comments posted to story forums on our Web site have pretty much universally slagged BCE, but that’s second as a national sport in Canada only to hockey.

Meanwhile, Rogers has never made any bones about the fact that it experiments with filtering traffic. I’ve noticed that using Skype on my Rogers account has become a miserable experience lately, with ghastly quality on the few calls that manage to connect. A friend points out that it’s probably entirely a coincidence that Rogers happens to offer an IP telephony package.

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