updated 12:00 pm EDT, Fri August 7, 2009
Bell HSPA End of Year
Bell on Thursday said it had signed its first-ever roaming deal with AT&T and may have dropped further clues of an early launch for its HSPA-based 3G network. The agreement will let the Canadian provider's customers use AT&T's network when traveling to the US and, reciprocally, will let Americans use Bell's upcoming network. AT&T has until now been limited to roaming deals with Rogers due to the absence of any other compatible networks in the country.
Additionally, the Globe and Mail claims that the HSPA network will launch earlier than mentioned. Originally scheduled for early 2010, just in time to collect roaming fees during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the service should now go live before the end of 2009. The news supports past rumors that both Bell and Telus would be ready ahead of schedule. Electronista has also since heard from the newspaper that word of the early launch is reportedly "well-sourced."
Officially, Bell and Telus are moving to HSPA to ease their eventual transitions to 4G using the LTE standard, but it's also believed the two rivals want to compete more fiercely with Rogers by making it easier for Rogers customers to switch without losing their phones. It would also give either a better selection of smartphones, and one rumor has a Telus iPhone launching in October. That rumor has since been bolstered by claims Bell might get the Apple handset as well.