Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sasktel joins 4G Flim Flam

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Just before the announcement of the mega merger south of the 49th, cellular carriers T-Mobile and AT&T started questionable advertising that touts their current HSPA networks as '4G' Even though Neither company has turned on any towers that have been upgraded to LTE a true fourth generation cellular network technology. 

Now just eight months after introducing 3G, Sasktel is promoting their HSPA network as being 4G.  Actual true 4G service in Canada is still a couple of years away, one of the frequency bands required for LTE, the 700 MHz band doesn't officially available until after August 31st when the television broadcasting industry requinishes that frequency band. 

The first LTE 4G services in Canada ared going to come from the big three carriers Telus, Rogers, and Bell that will be a few years.  LTE service from the regional carriers are several years away.  Even Sasktel isn't planning a network upgrade to LTE until 2015 - 2018. 
Word coming through the grapevine is that Rogers is planning to start offering LTE in Saskatchewan by 2012.  Despite bashing Rogers gets in Saskatchewan that is unjustified, stupid, and just plain wrong.  It's real 4G and not the same 3G with a 4G label that's dishonestly slapped on.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dual Mode iPhone 5? Potentially Yes

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Just a couple of months out of the gate the CDMA based iPhone 4, is going to be supplanted by an iPhone 5 as early as September an early sign that there will be a single model iPhone 5 that supports both CDMA and HSPA networks comes from an announcement from the Chief Financial Officer, Fran Shammo of Verizon Communications that next iPhone will be a Global model that would support both CDMA for Verizon's network and GSM for roaming outside of North America. 

Would it make sense to make a iPhone CDMA/GSM hybrid for Verizon and a HSPA only version for AT&T?  Would it make more sense to make a single model that supports both CDMA and HSPA to sell to all carriers that sell iPhones?  It would be cheaper for Apple's manufacturing partners though. 

A hybrid CDMA/HSPA iPhone would be beneficial to Canadian subscribers on Telus and Bell that still have some parts of their networks in remote areas that have not been upgraded to HSPA that are still CDMA only.  For smaller Canadian carriers MTS, Sasktel and TbayTel that launching the iPhone on April 26th, they still have large portions of their networks that will be CDMA only for a year or two to come. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

CBC Television in Saskatoon To Be Eliminated

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After television transmitters move from analog to to digital on August 31st, over the air TV viewers in Saskatoon will find the number of stations picked up with antennas has gone from four down to just two.  CBC is going to shut down the analog transmitters sending out the signals from CBKST (English television) and CBKFT-1 as mandated but will not be replaced with digital transmitters to take their place.  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation considers the Saskatoon transmitters as rebroadcasting the signals that originate from CBKT and CBKFT from Regina and not actual TV stations as the reason for eliminating the Saskatoon transmitters. That will leave CFQC (CTV) and CFSK (Global) as the only two over the air TV stations that serve the Saskatoon market.

Cable providers that will mean making arrangements to bring in an alternative CBC feeds to replace the English and French channels that are being terminated. Most likely that will mean bringing in CBKT and CBKFT from Regina.  For the homes that only use over the air signals for television programming, even though it's a small percentage in a coverage area of over 300,000 people that means 20,000 or more will not have access to CBC's most popular programming, Hockey Night in Canada.  Is that something the National Hockey League would care about?

The cost of upgrading would be high, that cost would be recovered quickly due to the lower power requirements of digital television broadcasting.  Any attempt to blame the elimination of CBC television in Saskatoon on not getting the carriage fees from cable and satellite providers is yet another red herring, since CBC television gets both advertising revenue and taxpayer support.  Losing CBC television has nothing to with funding, it's all politics.

CBC's official announcement: "CBC will not be installing a digital transmitter in Saskatoon"