SaskTel Activates 3G

by Jordan Richardson on August 17, 2010

SaskTel has switched on its 3G network, providing high speed mobile web services across the province they serve. The service was turned on in Regina, Saskatoon and 15 other cities and towns to provide Saskatchewan with ample network coverage.

The plan is to have 98% of the province covered by next year.

The network is HPSA+, which puts it in line with the wireless technology used by the incumbents across the country. The speeds are comparable to “fixed-line broadband” and should be able to operate most functions on most of today’s smart phones.

SaskTel is upgrading its existing CDMA network with a $172 million cash infusion. CDMA was, of course, the older standard used by companies like Bell and Telus prior to the rolling out of HSPA+. With the new network, SaskTel is highly optimistic.

“We’re now on an evolutionary path that allows us to compete with any other company in the world,” Ron Styles, SaskTel’s CEO said in a press release.

More than anything, the HDMA+ network means that SaskTel customers will finally be able to enjoy the fancy toys that most of the rest of Canada has been using. Most modem sticks, too, will run on the network.

For SaskTel, the new network is what bridges them to the next new network. The goal, without a clear timeline in place that we know of, is to advance on the back of the 3G network to a 4G network. “The most important thing about this new network is where it leads us to in the future,” Mr. Styles said.

The upgrade also means that SaskTel can offset some of its losses through landlines. By generating more wireless data revenue, the company will be able to file down their less than stellar numbers in terms of home phone accounts. Of course, the trend is nothing new industry-wide as consumers across the country are dumping landlines for wireless plans or other forms of communication.

In terms of products listed, SaskTel is promoting the Nokia 7230, Nokia 6350, BlackBerry Bold 9700, and the BlackBerry Pearl 9100 as new 3G devices. The pricing for the devices is generally up to industry standard. The Bold, for instance, runs about $100 on a three-year contract.

Photo c/o SaskTel.

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