Rumour Mill

Update: Tbaytel is taking part in the 700 Mhz spectrum auction which is designed to help launch LTE in remote areas of the country. The 700 Mhz spectrum travels farther and penetrates in buildings better then other spectrum. It should help companies keep costs down when launching LTE in less populated centers. It was confirmed by @mobilesyrup today that Tbaytel is taking part but there is no idea yet as to how much money they are willing to spend.

A couple months ago I was told that Tbaytel was looking at launching its own LTE network. Massive investment has been poured into the mobility portion of the company to expand the reach of the current towers. I truly believe that there is more afoot then the company is letting on. While there are still dead spots in town the majority of the city has above average coverage already. This extra investment would only be necessary for the 4G network if Tbaytel truly believed that there was a huge influx of new customers signing on. Add to the fact that Rogers has launched their LTE MAXX system which uses a different bandwith to run their service and opens up room on their LTE service. Rogers has a strong partnership already with Tbaytel and it is the one that helped them launch the 4G network. It is conceivable that Rogers uses some of the available LTE to help Tbaytel bring that speed here to Northwestern Ontario. I believe that a November/December launch of the Network is something that could be considered a real option. If true it seems that they have learned how to properly roll out a new network since the majority of the work is coming in Northwestern Ontario’s 2 largest centers.

Tbaytel - Thunder Bay

Tbaytel - Kenora

The top item shows the investment into Thunder Bay over the past/coming months. 16 towers have been added or will have received an upgrade all across the city. All of these projects are within a very short period of time as well. To me it would say that they are pushing for a goal which should be around the corner very shortly.

Below is the Kenora upgrades. 5 projects for the city which is a major investment for a city of that size. I don’t really know much about how the coverage is in that area but a investment like that has to be for something big.

I could totally be of on this one. It could simply be the end product of a major increase in spending from Tbaytel towards their coverage. The comment about LTE coming from a source and the potential opening of LTE space on Rogers network seem to come together like a puzzle. The only thing missing if this was to happen would be the date. With towers still being put up in September they miss the back to school rush for the latest phones but a Late November/Early December launch would be perfect for the company. They could grab all the people who jumped on 3 year plans when the 4G network was launched 3 years ago. Having LTE could being Tbaytel on a level playing field with Bell and Telus in the mobile wars.


7 thoughts on “Rumour Mill

  1. A few thoughts

    1) It would be interesting to know how much business Bell mobility has signed up and if the folks at TBayTel are feeling the heat a bit
    2) I know there are still issues with “dead zones”, one of which is the road going to Chippewa Park (although you’re ok right at Chippewa). So I think the extra towers being put up has lots to do with capacity/coverage issues.
    3) I’m not tech savvy enough to know if the phones TBayTel has sold already can do LTE. Would a software/firmware upgrade be enough or would people need to get a new phone? If it’s the latter then TBayTel is going to face another wave of negative pushback from their customer base.

    1. Thanks for the read.

      1) I agree it would be interesting to see how much competition has eaten away at the customer base. Tbaytel paid Rogers 40 million dollars for the 15,000 customers that they had with 807 area code numbers. Many Tbaytel customers are ‘lifers’ and are extremely loyal to the company. Its conceivable that they lost a majority of those 15,000 customers when Bell, Telus and Virgin mobile moved in. I also know some people who were on Tbaytel that transferred over to the other companies so it could be more. Add to that the customers lost in Kenora (number unknown) then you could be sitting in the 10,000-20,000 range. On a positive note they did eat up Dryden municipal telephone which would have added to their subscribers rate. So the total loss is hard to put a number on but it would have affected their bottom line likely.

      2) I agree that some of these towers (possibly all) are for extra coverage in dead zones/capacity issues but 16 projects in Thunder Bay alone at one time seems a little much. I believe there is an opportunity for them to catch up with their competition and bring LTE to Thunder Bay. Rogers doesn’t want to see Tbaytel get crushed by the competition so I’m sure they are doing what they can to help bring LTE here. I could be totally off but I think it would be a good time for them to launch the new network and raise the stakes in NorthWestern Ontario.

      3) Depends on the internals of your phone. For example if you have a BlackBerry Bold 9900 you can’t get LTE but the new BB10 devices can. Samsung Galaxy S3 and newer can get LTE, etc etc. It really depends on the phone internals and its ability to work with the LTE network. Phones work on spectrum (the thing that sends the signals) and LTE networks are on a different bandwidth of spectrum then a 4G network which is why you need new/ upgraded towers. More then likely if your phone is new then you will be able to get LTE right away the question will be if you need a new plan or not. LTE is much faster but it also eats data at a much faster rate. Tbaytel might force people to get onto new plans if they want to use LTE simply for the fact they will have to spend huge money on capacity and towers as the phone go through huge amounts of data.


      thanks for the read. I hope I answered your questions to the fullest and didn’t confuse you too much.

      Have a good day 🙂

      1. Thank you very much for your reply. If my understanding is correct, even so called LTE compatible phones would at least need a new SIM card, correct?
        Could you please clarify your comment “Rogers doesn’t want to see Tbaytel get crushed by the competition…..”, is that because they would lose access to the towers TBayTel has in NW Ontario?
        Thanks again and have a great weekend!

      2. It all depends on the carrier. Right now I have the Z10 and I could turn on LTE in the phone but wouldn’t get the signal because of the fact it isn’t here. Would I get LTE in Toronto? Maybe but the carriers permissions have a lot to do with it. LTE is a huge investment and they probably wont let people switch without coughing up a little bit more cash. It might need a new sim card but it also might be one of those things where they change the permissions on your existing sim card.

        Rogers needs the towers that Tbaytel has in order to make their Canada wide network as complete as it is. Rogers left because there was no money in Northwestern Ontario for them. Tbaytel basically had this region on lockdown and the 15,000 users weren’t enough to justify the expense of new towers. If Tbaytel starts on the decline it could be extremely negative for Rogers. They do not want to have to set up towers across the region or have to buy the towers from Tbaytel. Add to the fact that Tbaytel purchases phones from Rogers and they have a pretty sweet business deal going on.

        Its the great Canadian downfall. A lot of space to cover with towers and coverage but not a lot of people to justify the expense. Bell, Telus only came to Thunder Bay cause Tbaytel left their network and went with Rogers.

        You as well. Enjoy your weekend.

  2. I noticed earlier this summer announcements by TBayTel that a variety of new towers and upgrades were to be in place by the end of August. In today’s paper however most of these won’t be in place (supposedly) until October. Promises, promises…………………

    1. Sorry for the late reply. Moved outta Thunder Bay for University so its been busy.

      That’s unfortunate that they are delaying it. Wonder what was the cause behind it.

      Have a good one.

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