SaskTel today announced the launch of the first phase of its new 4G LTE wireless network. A technical trial with select employees will take place immediately with commercial availability scheduled for Regina and Saskatoon, and surrounding communities, beginning early February 2013. SaskTel will offer 4G LTE in more communities in Saskatchewan than any other provider at launch and throughout 2013 the network will be extended to Estevan, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Weyburn and Yorkton.
“Once SaskTel deploys LTE commercially, SaskTel will have the largest 4G LTE network in Saskatchewan, providing data speeds approximately 5 times faster than the current 4G network,” said Don McMorris, Minister Responsible for SaskTel. “Saskatchewan residents will continue to benefit from the most advanced wireless technology available.”
“When we launch 4G LTE, it will be significantly faster than the competing LTE network in Saskatchewan and at the time of introduction it will have more than double the towers with that coverage advantage growing throughout 2013,” said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO. “And only 4G LTE capable devices purchased from SaskTel or its authorized dealers will operate on the 4G LTE portion of the SaskTel network.”
SaskTel’s existing 4G wireless technology reaches download speeds of up to 21 Mbps and 4G LTE will reach download speeds of over 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and 50 Mbps upload. The 4G LTE network will provide increased speed allowing customers to stream HD movies, high quality video and music, share pictures and videos, game faster than ever before and download applications lightning fast. 4G LTE will also allow SaskTel to continue to deliver the latest wireless phones and devices over the fastest network in Saskatchewan.
SaskTel will leverage its 4G LTE technology for data and will continue to use the 4G network for voice services. 4G LTE phones will be compatible with both networks - seamlessly transmitting voice over the 4G network and data over 4G LTE until the technology is available to deliver voice over 4G LTE. When outside 4G LTE coverage areas, 4G LTE devices will always fall back to the 4G network for both voice and data usage. SaskTel will make existing wireless data plans available to 4G LTE customers without charging a premium.
“SaskTel will deploy 4G LTE in nine cities in the province leveraging existing AWS spectrum but future phases are highly dependent on SaskTel being successful in the Federal Government’s 700 Mhz spectrum auction expected in the first half of 2013,” added Styles.
Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corporation (SaskTel.com) is the leading full service communications provider in Saskatchewan, with $1.1 billion in annual revenue and over 1.45 million customer connections including over 600,000 wireless accesses, 528,000 wireline network accesses, 230,000 internet accesses and 95,000 Max™ (TV) subscribers. SaskTel offers a wide range of communications products and services including competitive voice, data, Internet, entertainment, security monitoring, messaging, cellular, wireless data and directory services. In addition, SaskTel International offers software solutions and project consulting in countries around the world. SaskTel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries have a workforce of approximately 4,100 employees.