Tbaytel customers with older cell phones will have to get a new device if they want to stay in touch, as the company upgrades to a newer network with different technology.

The manager of corporate brand communications with TBaytel said the goal is to have all customers off the old network by the end of the year.

"As newer networks are built, and the types of services available to customers change, obviously we have to look at the future, and what kinds of services we need to provide customers,” Katie Crowe said.


Tbaytel customers with older, non-smartphones will have to upgrade by the end of 2014.

Crowe said Tbaytel will contact customers affected by the change. Their phones are at least three or four years old, and are not considered smartphones.

"We're communicating with customers who are still on the CDMA network, and letting them know that they have until the end of this year to transition," she said.

The old network is also used by Telus, Bell and Rogers customers, Crowe noted. These customers will also be affected by the technical upgrades at the end of the year.

Carriers across North America are switching from what is known in the industry as the “CDMA” (code division multiple access) network to the “HSPA” (high speed packet access) network, she said.

"The CDMA network represents an older technology that we'll be moving away from," Crowe continued.

"As a matter of fact, it's pretty difficult these days to find a CDMA-compatible device. So, certainly you'll find any carrier in North America has pretty much moved to the newer technology of HSPA."