Bell and Telus Building GSM: iPhone Time!

Even with the turmoil of the US economy that has now spread around the globe, Bell and Telus announced on Friday that they are teaming up to build a shared GSM network. That means both companies are going to invest 1 billion dollars to build up a GSM network to rival Rogers, which has had their network since 2001. We mentioned this rumor in late July, but now it has been confirmed.

Bell and Telus are Establishing a 3G/4G Network

In addition to establishing a 3G network, the latest generation 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard will be included too, for even faster data transfer. The network is set to be ready by 2010 in time for the Winter Olympics and will complement their existing CDMA networks. That means people won’t be forced to switch to GSM, although I’m sure they will since companies usually release their latest cellphones on GSM first, then CDMA afterwards.

When this news was confirmed I was pretty excited to hear it. Why? Well, there are a couple reasons. First, by building their own GSM network for 3G/4G, Bell and Telus will essentially bring the much awaited GSM competition this country has been waiting for. That means ending the monopoly Rogers has had for the past 7 years in the GSM field, not just in carrying hottest cellphones (think iPhone 3G, Blackberry Bold, Nokia N95 etc.). Now maybe we won’t have to deal with these “iPhone killers” anymore.

Darren Entwistle, the CEO of Telus, said during a conference call with analysts and investors that offering two 3G networks side-by-side will help to “future-proof” Telus as the entire wireless industry moves toward a common standard over the next few years. “This will enable a smoother transition to a fourth-generation wireless network,” Entwistle said.

In other words, Bell and Telus don’t want to be left in the dust as Rogers continues to reap the benefits of a GSM monopoly, through cellphone sales and roaming charges from overseas visitors. Maybe they’re trying to cash in on some visitors to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver while they’re roaming? Pay As You Go Bell/Telus GSM cards anyone? LOL!

Of course it’s going to take some time for their network to be fully established by outsourced companies Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei. Once setup though, in early 2010 we should also see other GSM mobile carriers added to the mix as well. That means once my Rogers 3 year contract (oh please don’t remind me how long it is) is up in 2011, I’ll be able to switch to any GSM carrier of my choosing. Competition is good for the consumer!

GSM Technology Means iPhone Right?

So while the network won’t be completed in time for Bell and Telus to carry the iPhone 3G, there is a possibility that the next generation iPhone 4G (we know it will be here) could be on Bell, Telus, and Rogers all at the same time. However, we know how Apple operates and it is possible that Rogers may retain exclusive rights to the iPhone. However, money talks and we know anything is possible at this point in time.

It is safe to saythe future is friendly and the cellphone market is going to get better. Do you think the iPhone will come to Bell and Telus once their GSM networks are setup?


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