Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Telus Mobility Considers Technology Change

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It's being reported that Canadian cell phone carrier, Telus Mobility is considering converting their current CDMA network over to GSM. This would make Telus only the second carrier to use GSM. This would effectively would end the GSM Monopoly that Rogers Wireless currently has. This would or should mean that travelers to Canada would pay cheaper roaming rates. With less than two years until the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Telus would have to move fast to get cash in on foreign athletes and media and the thousands of their cell phones.

The most conservative estimate of the cost of a network technology change is 500 million dollars, which would mean having to sign up a lot of new customers just to save money on carrier subsidized phones. Even though the newest cell phone come out on the market using GSM first 500 million is lot just to launch the iPhone in Canada.

Even though 500 million for what may seem a minimal benefit, there may seem to be a hidden motive to migrate, Using a competing technology would help make a take over of Telus unattractive to Bell, who was in merger discussions with Telus in 2007.

Dumping CDMA in favor of GSM is not unheard of, in recent years. Telstra, Australia's largest cell carrier made the change over in 2006, Brazil's Vivo and Reliance Communications in India are in the process of switching from CDMA to GSM.

GSM Cell phones are considered to be much more customer friendly because an unlocked GSM phone can be can be moved from carrier to carrier just by changing the sim card. Now that people can keep their phone numbers when change carriers, and for the first time since the days of Analog cellular people will be able to keep their phones again. Will the future be friendly? We'll see.

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