SaskTel and Bell today announced they have entered into a wireless network sharing agreement that will facilitate the rapid deployment of next generation wireless and data services through Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) and High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technologies. Customers will benefit from improved roaming in Canada and internationally, and will have access to a range of new and leading-edge wireless devices.
Bell initially announced its next generation network plans in October, 2008 and recently announced that it will be ready to launch its HSPA network in November – months ahead of schedule to deliver in time for the 2010 Olympics Games in Vancouver, of which Bell is a Premier National Partner and the Exclusive Telecommunications Partner. With today’s announcement, the new HSPA network will deliver high-speed mobile access to 94% of the Canadian population across 1.4 million square kilometres. With more than 21,000 Canadians cities and towns covered, the all-new network will serve rural and remote locations as well as it does urban areas, making mobile access as fast at the farm or cottage as it is in the city.
”This new network-sharing agreement with SaskTel allows us to quickly and cost-effectively extend the country’s largest and fastest wireless network to even more Canadians,” said Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Mobility and Chief Brand Officer for Bell.
SaskTel initially announced its next generation network plans as part of its overall 2009 network investment program which will ensure 100% High Speed Internet coverage in Saskatchewan and 98% cellular coverage. SaskTel’s UMTS/HSPA network will be initially launched mid-2010 with a targeted completion date of 2011.
“SaskTel has continually evolved its wireless network in Saskatchewan to provide its customers access to leading-edge services,” SaskTel President and CEO Robert Watson said. “Our agreement with Bell will maximize our $172 million investment in deploying UMTS/HSPA wireless technologies and will provide our customers increased benefits such as improved roaming and a range of new wireless devices.”
The new network will be built with the latest HSPA infrastructure supplied by partners Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei Technologies. This initiative will also ensure a smooth transition to long term evolution (LTE) technology, which is the emerging worldwide fourth generation (4G) technology standard, as it becomes available.
Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corporation (SaskTel) is the leading full service communications provider in Saskatchewan, with $1.138 billion in annual revenue and over 1.3 million customer connections including over 510,000 wireless accesses, 555,000 wireline network accesses, 216,000 internet accesses and 70,000 Max™ (TV) subscribers. SaskTel (sasktel.com) offers a wide range of communications products and services including competitive voice, data, internet, entertainment, national security, messaging, cellular, wireless data and directory services. In addition, SaskTel International offers software solutions and project consulting in countries around the world. In 2008, SaskTel contributed over $610 million to the Saskatchewan economy through dollars spent with Saskatchewan-based suppliers and sponsorships to non-profit organizations. SaskTel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries have a workforce of approximately 5,000 employees.
Bell (bell.ca) is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business with solutions to all their communications needs, including Bell Mobility wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite television, Bell Home phone local and long distance, and IP-broadband and information and communications technology (ICT) services. Bell is proud to be a Premier National Partner and the exclusive Telecommunications Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Bell is wholly owned by BCE, Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For corporate information on BCE, please visit bce.ca/.
For more information, please contact:
Julie Smithers, Bell Media Relations