Bell Canada and Nortel Networks* [NYSE/TSE: NT] announced the signing of a contract estimated at US$117 million (CDN$180 million) to expand Bell Mobility's digital PCS network into Alberta and British Columbia. The new network will support Bell Mobility's vision of bringing the most advanced wireless PCS and 3G applications to the greatest number of Canadians through CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) digital technology.
Today's announcement expands and extends a long-standing relationship between Bell Mobility and Nortel Networks. Under terms of the new contract, Nortel Networks will install cdma2000* 1XRTT Wireless Internet infrastructure equipment in Alberta and British Columbia, including radio base stations and core network switching equipment, as well as provide project management and provisioning services. The network will operate in the 1900 MHz bands, and is expected to be operational in major urban centers in Alberta and British Columbia in early 2002.
'This investment in Western Canada demonstrates Bell Mobility's commitment to providing Canadians with a national network that will offer the most innovative and advanced wireless products and services available to consumers and businesses today,' said Pierre Blouin, president and chief executive officer of Bell Mobility. "We're building a national 3G network that will give Canadians from coast-to-coast seamless access to Bell Mobility's full suite of digital services on our CDMA network."
Bell Mobility plans to officially launch its Western Canadian activities in the Fall of 2001, with new store openings and a wide range of state-of-the-art wireless products and services in Alberta and British Columbia. Once the network is completed, residents of Alberta and British Columbia will have access to a range of new services, including Mobile Browser and Digital DATA to Go*, which provide wireless access to the Internet, e-mail, corporate databases, m-commerce applications and personalized content.
The network being implemented through this contract is designed to support 3G applications, and allow Bell Mobility to bring new, enhanced services and advanced wireless content to Western Canadians. This implementation is the first step in a network designed to deliver speeds of at least 384 kilobits per second, and up to 2 megabits per second, over a broad suite of mobile devices offering Canadian customers unprecedented access to advanced wireless content.
"The ease with which our CDMA network will enable us to deploy 144-kilobit packet data capability means we will greatly enhance our customers' wireless experience by offering access to services that not only inform but also entertain, and to wireless devices that respond to individual customer needs," Blouin said. "These devices will become a natural extension of the office environment, allowing customers to access all of the information they need, wherever they are."
"Nortel Networks is unifying its IP, optical and wireless solutions to drive down the costs of Wireless Internet, and to increase opportunities for customers like Bell Mobility to profit from a new era of wireless services," said Peter MacKinnon, Wireless Internet Solutions, Nortel Networks. "Our focus on driving operator profitability and leadership in CDMA 1XRTT technologies are major reasons why the world's leading operators continue to turn to Nortel Networks to lay the foundation for the next generation of Wireless Internet services."
Under terms of the agreement, Nortel Networks will supply the entire core, radio and access network for Bell Mobility's Western Canada expansion, including radio equipment from its Metrocell base station portfolio, Nortel Networks Shasta* BSN 5000, Nortel Networks Passport* 15000 and digital switching equipment. These components support both voice and packet data services, and are designed to leverage existing network investments and create operational cost efficiencies for service providers. Nortel Networks cdma2000 1XRTT solutions can position operators to double voice capacity on CDMA networks, and support 'always on' data services.
Earlier this year, Bell Mobility successfully bid on 20 new PCS (Personal Communications Services) spectrum licenses through Industry Canada's auction of PCS spectrum in the 2 GHz range. Bell Mobility invested CDN$720 million (or $1.40/pop/Mhz of spectrum) to acquire the spectrum, which included three licenses in Alberta and three licenses in British Columbia, as well as additional licenses in Ontario and Quebec.
In April 2001, Bell Mobility announced the appointment of Paul Healey as president of Bell Mobility's Western Region. Healey will lead the establishment and launch of Bell Mobility's operations in Western Canada and is responsible for overseeing all operations in Alberta and British Columbia.