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Canadian telecoms test unified video-calling network

The top telecoms in Canada, including Bell, Telus, and Rogers, today completed testing a new video-calling service that will be compatible across all networks in Canada.

Video-calling in Canada is not as popular, or in the United States, for that matter, but in Canada, the feature requires both parties to be on the same telecom network to actually work.

The new system (3G-324M standard) that the big three telecoms today finished testing would allow users to video-call people across any of the networks, making it the largest video-calling network in North America.

No information relating to possible availability was released.

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Telus, Bell iPhone price plans unveiled

Canadian CDMA carriers Telus and Bell are set to launch the iPhone 3G S on Nov 5, and Nov 4, respectively. The companies have now announced pricing for the devices.

Telus will offer the 16GB (black/white) version for $199, the 32GB version will cost CND $299 and will be available in both black and white.

Both companies are not introducing exclusive monthly plans for the iPhone. Plans start at $50 per month at Telus, and at $55 per month at Bell.

At Telus, the most affordable plan will set you back $50 per month, and will give you 150 minutes with 500MB of data (with tethering included). All plans include unlimited messaging as well.

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New Telus network to launch Nov 3

Telus’ expected to launch iPhone early Nov as new HSPA GSM network is expected to launch Nov 3rd

We are able today to report with a high degree of confidence that the new Telus HSPA 3G network will launch on November 3, 2009.

Telus previously announced only a few days ago that it would launch the iPhone 3GS sometime in November.

The new launch date for the network indicates the iPhone is poised to launch sometime very early in November, compared to a closer end of month launch date.

The new Telus network will allow the company to offer higher-end GSM handsets in the future, including the unannounced BlackBerry Bold 2 (expected to launch in the U.S. on November 11 and shortly after in Canada), and possibly the HTC Hero smartphone.

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CDMA carriers Bell and Telus to launch iPhone in Canada

Bell and Telus will bring the iPhone to Canada in time for the holiday season on their new 4G GSM network with expected lower prices, ending the exclusivity agreement with Rogers

Bell Canada and Telus Wireless have confirmed (Bell press release, Telus press release) both companies would sell the iPhone in Canada starting in November, in time for the holiday season, ending the iPhone exclusivity agreement with Rogers.

The companies in a joint effort were able to upgrade their wireless infrastructure to 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) in order to support the GSM standard and hence the iPhone.

They will offer both the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS.

No pricing or exact availability was announced today. The new competition should help bring the price of the phone down. Prior to this news, the iPhone was offered by Rogers and Fido (owned by Rogers), so there was really no competition.

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Google Android phone coming to Canada

Update: To launch June 2nd 2009 on the Rogers network.

Rogers Communications, the cable and telecom giant, has announced it will finally release a Google Android powered phone in Canada. The company confirmed today it will be launching both the HTC Magic and HTC Dream powered by the open-source Google Android OS.

Rogers senior vice president John Boynton said in a statement, “Both devices [the HTC Dream and HTC Magic] offer outstanding wireless Internet search capabilities and a full suite of applications,”

Bell Canada, also announced earlier in the week the company would be the exclusive carrier to offer the new Palm Pre in Canada.

Both companies failed to disclose details on pricing and availability, but we are working on our source.

Google has publicly criticized Rogers Communications in the past for not offering unlimited mobile Internet data. Google has also voiced concern over Rogers Wireless complete GSM monopoly in Canada.

In related Rogers news, according to an internal source, the company in June will start to charge customers for incoming text messages, unless subscribed to a basic SMS plan. The source familiar with the matter spoke on condition of anonymity citing details have yet to be made public. Telus already has been doing this for months. The moves highlight that few control the oligopolistic telecom market in Canada, and in this case, a monopoly over the GSM networks.


Bell Buys The Source Circuit City Stores in Canada

bellCircuit City recently went bankrupt in the U.S. costing thousands of jobs. “The Source” stores by Circuit city have now been acquired by Bell Canada, all 750 stores. Bell President and CEO George Cope said, “With its strong national presence, brand, and management team, acquiring The Source represents a competitive and cost-effective approach to ensuring Bell’s leadership in delivering the best communications products to Canadians,” Mr. Cope said. Cope went on to say “[The] acquisition supports Bell’s strategic imperatives to accelerate wireless and leverage momentum in wire-line services like Bell TV,” The acquisitions should be completed by Q3 2009. No valuation was disclosed.

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Telus to Cut Costs, Reduces Expectations

Telus, the 2nd largest mobile telecom in Canada, has posted a Q3 profit of $285.3 million ($0.89 per shar), down from $409.3 million ($1.23 per share) year over year. The company earned $2.45 billion in revenue, down from $2.31 billion YoY. The lower profits were essentially expected. Telus now plans to materially cut costs even more than it originally planned. Telus recently has made varoius large investments, including in Koodoo, a subsidary discount telecom, has invested in network upgrades with Bell (who shared the costs – both use CDMA networks), and also spent $882 million in a government airwave spectrum auction. Telus has also lowered its expected fiscal 08 total revenue.

Telus currently offers the most smartphone selection in Canada, and is the only carrier to offer unlimited internet on mobile phones (however, there are still some restrictions in the TOS). Bell and Telus are believed to make the switch to the more desirable GSM mobile network standard from the current CDMA systems. This will help the companies offer more selection, and it will also bring some competition to the GSM Canadian mobile market space where Rogers (also owns Fido) currently has a complete monopoly over. The transition will likely take about 3 years to complete.

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