Bell Canada is launching its state-of-the-art cellphone network on Wednesday, a day ahead of its construction partner Telus.
The company on Monday said its new High Speed Packet Access network will be capable of data transfer speeds up to 21 megabits per second and will cover 93 per cent of the population.
The network, which was jointly built with rival Telus at a cost of $1 billion, will also be compatible with the majority of networks around the world and will be able to accommodate popular devices such as Apple's iPhone. Few existing devices — including the iPhone — are capable of achieving the sorts of speeds the network is capable of, however.
Telus had previously announced it will launch its portion of the network, as well as the iPhone, on Thursday. Bell will also carry the iPhone but did not specify whether it would launch in conjunction with the network. Neither company has announced monthly pricing on the popular gadget.
Bell has announced several devices for the new network, including the BlackBerry Bold 9700, the Samsung Omnia II, the Nokia 6350 and 2730, and the Novatel U999 Turbo Stick and MiFi 2372 mobile hotspot.
The move begins the two companies' transition to the GSM and HSPA wireless standards, which most cellphone providers in the world use. Bell and Telus currently use a different standard, CDMA, which is being phased out in most parts of the world.
The duo's main rival, Rogers, has been rolling out 21-megabit speeds since the summer. The company has also had the iPhone in its arsenal since last year and has been running away with the wireless market. Rogers has about 8.4 million subscribers, versus Bell's 6.5 million and Telus's 6.2 million.
Several new cellphone companies will begin operations in the next few months and they are expected to roll out state-of-the-art networks as well.
Bell and Telus said their network launches come months ahead of schedule.