It’s the last of the country’s big three cellular carriers to LTE, but Telus Communications Corp. made sure it will make a splash today when it finally turns on its next-generation wireless network.
The company launched LTE service in 14 cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, the greater Toronto area, Kitchener, Waterloo, Hamilton, Guelph, Belleville, Ottawa, Montreal, Québec City, Halifax and Yellowknife.
Coverage will be broadened to encompass 25 million people by the end of the year.
David Fuller, the carrier’s chief marketing officer, isn’t concerned thatRogers Communications Inc. and Bell Mobility turned their LTE service on months earlier. “What’s important is not being fastest to market,” he said in an inteview. “What’s important is making sure you’re fast to market, that you don’t have any meaningful competitive gaps with your competition.”
Besides, he added, he’s seen “very little demand” from customers for LTE. “I don’t believe there are customers saying ‘I want to be on an LTE-capable device and I’m going to take my business elsewhere if you don’t have LTE.'”
If so, that might change if an LTE version of Apple Corp.’s wildly popular iPhone is released. Fuller said he has no idea when that will be.
With the long-awaited move, the country has more choice in buying LTE devices that will take advantage of some of the fastest download speeds in the world.
Telus said its network supports peak speeds of up to 75 megabits per second, although users will see averages of between 12 and 25 Mpbs. That depends on a number of factors, including the maximum capabilities of the devices.
Rogers Communication Inc. just announced it will sell devices capable of handling up to 40 Mpbs under ideal conditions.
The launch comes in time for Telus to take advantage of Valenentine’s Day gift opportunites.
LTE-enabled devices being sold by Telus include the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE tablet, the LG Optimus LTE smartphone and the Novatel Ovation MC679 4G LTE Mobile Internet Key. The 4G LTE-capable Samsung Galaxy Note will also be available on Feb. 14.
Telus’ LTE network uses equipment from Huawei Telecommunications, which also supplies Bell Mobility. Telus and Bell share LTE and HSPA wireless networks.
To leverage the new network, Telus also announced what it calls “Optik on the go”, which allows its Optik IPTV customers in B.C. and Alberta to view certain commercial free TV On Demand shows and movies on their mobile devices, tablets and laptops.
Users can start, pause, rewind and fast forward their shows on the mobile devices. Shows and movies from Super Channel, Hollywood Suite, Family Channel, Disney XD, Disney Jr, and Baby TV in English, French and Mandarin are intially available.
Also today, Telus said it recorded fourth quarter revenue of $2.7 billion and earnings before interest and other charges of $874 million. The revenue was up more than five per cent over the same period last year. The increase came from 6.5 per cent growth in wireless revenue and four per cent growth in wireline revenue, the company said in a statement, both driven by strong data growth. It added 148,000 postpaid wireless customers in the quarter.