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Bell Mobility launches upgraded wireless network

00:00 EST Wednesday, February 13, 2002

TORONTO -- Bell Mobility has launched an upgraded wireless network aimed primarily at mobile corporate users and youths, the fastest-growing segments of the market for the company.

The new network, which supports both data and voice transmissions, uses a wireless standard called 1xrtt and is capable of sending and receiving data of up to 86 kilobits a second, the company said yesterday. That's about 1 times faster than a 56K dial-up modem. The new network is available only in the Toronto area for now, but will include other major Canadian cities by spring.

In recent months, rivals Rogers Wireless Inc. and Microcell Connexions Inc. launched their own upgraded networks, which both use a wireless standard called general packet radio services. Telus Mobility is expected to roll out its 1xrtt network by midyear.

At the Toronto launch yesterday, Pierre Blouin, president and chief executive officer of Bell Mobility, unveiled 1xrtt-compatible phones frommakers Kyocera Wireless Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. They also premiered a new service called Data to Go, which connects 1xrtt-compatible phones to a laptop or handheld devices so that mobile workers can access corporate e-mail and networks.

After the demo yesterday, Warren Chaisatien, an analyst at IDC Canada Ltd., said right now Bell's new network is "a little light on corporate applications" and "a little pricey."

The company said it is working with business partners to provide services for corporate users.

Under its $25 plan, a user can download about three large documents or 10 Web pages a month, which is not a lot, he said.

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