Provincially-owned SaskTel will add LTE service to its wireless network in Regina and Saskatoon next fall, the company has announced, and extend it to the rest of the province in 2013.
 
“LTE technology will significantly improve the customer experience and will provide our customers with data speeds of up to 5 times faster than our existing 4G network,” Bill Boyd, the minister responsible for SaskTel, said in a news release. “The initial LTE phones will be compatible with the [HSPA] 4G network and will seamlessly transmit voice over the 4G network and data over LTE.”
SaskTel’s HSPA networkreaches download speeds of up to 21 Mbps under ideal conditions. LTE will reach download speeds of over 100 Mbps and 50 Mbps upload under perfect conditions.
 
The higher bandwidth LTE will provide increased capacity to serve more customers, improved latency with respect to data applications and video, SaskTel says, and it will allow the phone company to provide more advanced and higher bandwidth video and multimedia services. It will also support SaskTel’s  handset options, which will continue to expand as new handset devices are introduced in the market.

SaskTel has begun work on LTE planning, infrastructure development and internal system work, the release said. Phase 1 of LTE deployment will begin in the fall of 2012 to Regina and Saskatoon, and surrounding areas. LTE will be deployed to other urban and rural areas starting in 2013 based on the demand for incremental data services and it anticipated that LTE for voice will also begin to be deployed in 2013.

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