Business

Freedom Mobile network will soon work with iPhones, other LTE devices, Shaw confirms

Freedom Mobile, the wireless brand that Shaw Communications bought last year, says it has struck a deal with Apple that will allow its customers to use iPhones on its network, along with a much wider variety of other LTE devices.

'Nearly all LTE devices currently in use in Canada,' will soon work on carrier's network

Freedom Mobile is upgrading and changing its network so that iPhones and virtually all other LTE-enabled devices will soon be able to work on it. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

Freedom Mobile, the wireless brand that Shaw Communications bought last year, says its customers can now use iPhones on its network, along with a much wider variety of other LTE devices.

In a conference call to discuss the company's quarterly results with analysts on Thursday, the Calgary-based company announced that it had struck a deal with Apple that will allow the iPhones to work on the carrier's network. 

"We look forward to future announcements on Apple iPhone availability and pricing," CEO Brad Shaw said on the call.

Freedom Mobile launched an LTE network about a year ago, but its appeal was limited because it uses a type of wireless spectrum, known as Band 66, that most high-end devices in North America aren't calibrated to work on.

The latest iPhones, however, will work on Freedom's existing network. And the company will make older models backwards-compatible by reallocating some of its older 3G bands to carry LTE traffic, through a process known as "refarming."

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"We are going to support … all the Apple devices," president Jay Mehr said, along with Samsung Galaxy phones "and the vast majority of LTE devices" in Canada.

"The enhancements will improve Freedom Mobile's LTE-Advanced network performance, especially in dense urban areas, and support nearly all LTE devices currently in use in Canada," the company followed up with in a press release.

Those changes will happen by December in Alberta and British Columbia, and early next year in the company's core Ontario market. 

Instead of focusing on subsidizing devices the way some companies do, Shaw says it will focus on the "bring your own device" market — customers who own their phones outright, and can simply bring them over to Shaw's network and start using them.

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