Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rogers Beats Sasktel Bringing LTE To Saskatchewan

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The wait for Long Term Evolution (LTE) the true fourth generation of cellular communications in the land of the living skies is over.  On Monday, October 1st. Rogers Wireless turned on LTE service in Regina and Saskatoon.  For iPad 3 and iPhone 5 users subscribers on Rogers will get the faster download speed that LTE brings. 

Subscribers on other carriers should get LTE service eventually.  Telus and Bell have been rolling out LTE across Canada, but in Saskatchewan Bell and Telus may have to wait for their landlord, Sasktel to upgrade their tower sites for LTE.  So far, Sasktel hasn't given a straight answer when LTE service on their network will launch. 

Sasktel subscribers will waiting later rather than sooner for several reasons, radio frequency spectrum allocated for LTE is currently being used for an aging fixed point wireless broadband system that Sasktel was starting to phase out and then had to give a one year extension ties up that frequency band for that year. 

Sasktel's growing debt load will further inhibit LTE upgrades.  Upgrading their HSPA cellular network upgrade and their recently announced fibre to the home upgrade will put the provincial government owned telco a billion dollars in debt, making securing financing another upgrade to the cellular network more difficult.   

Delays by Sasktel may force Bell to invoke a clause in their tower sharing agreement with Sasktel that allows Bell to install equipment on Sasktel's tower sites to begin offering LTE on their own.  As demand grows for the increased bandwidth on mobile devices that LTE delivers, switching providers maybe the price to pay to access the extra speed that LTE delivers.  That's the price that early adopters often pay.

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