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Videotron will launch its LTE network ‘in the next few weeks’, claims over 550,000 customers

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Videotron will launch its LTE network “in the next few weeks” across Quebec, according to CEO Manon Brouillette. The company dished the news during its Q2 earnings call today, noting that it is in a good position to continue offering competitive province-wide wireless services.

The company noted revenues of $66.8 million from its wireless division, and netted 29,700 new customers for a total of 551,300.

While the subsidiary, which is owned by one of Quebec’s largest media companies, Quebecor, won’t comment on when it aims to launch a national wireless network, it noted that the launch of the iPhone had a positive impact on the company’s wireless revenue. Brouillette noted that iPhone users accounted for 22% of total activations, and their average ARPU amounted to $68, far higher than the company average. Considering Videotron only began selling the iPhone in late March, it shows there was pent-up demand for the products. (more…)

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Nexus 7 out of stock on Play Store ahead of possible tablet refresh

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While popular, at 12 months old the Nexus 7 tablet is looking a little long in the tooth. Which is why it’s interesting to see that the Google Play store currently has the device listed as “out of stock” for both the 16GB and 32GB variants. At this stage in a device’s lifecycle, such a sign usually indicates preparation for a replacement, of which the HTC-made Nexus 8 is certainly rumoured to be. While Google I/O brought nothing in the way of an official announcement from either company, the Nexus 8 is still expected to drop by September, and could be coming sooner than later.

For Nexus fans keeping score at home, that’s a Nexus 8 rumoured to replace the Nexus 7, an HTC-made Nexus 9 rumoured to replace the Nexus 10, and a 5.9 inch Motorola-made device rumoured to replace the Nexus 5 — which we’ll round up and call it the Nexus 6.

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Eastlink signs ‘unique network partner’ to expand wireless coverage

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Easlink launched its wireless service in early 2013, and the carrier has slowly been building out its Maritime LTE network. Now, thanks to a “unique network partner approach to supplement its own network coverage,” Eastlink customers will now be able to use their mobile devices without worry throughout the entire East coast.

Eastlink and Rogers formed a roaming agreement when its services officially launched, but this “unique network partner” looks to be more representative of Bell or TELUS’ coverage in the area. Matthew MacLellan, President of Eastlink Wireless, said, “We continue to work to bring our customers the best possible overall wireless experience, including easy-to-understand and flexible plans, great value for money, and excellent customer service – all from the local provider you know and trust.” (more…)

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CRTC finds Rogers engaged in ‘unjust discrimination’ against new entrants in domestic roaming, bans future exclusivity agreements

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The CRTC has found Rogers engaged in what it is calling “unjust discrimination” and “undue preference” towards new entrants in respect to roaming agreements.

Canada’s enforcer of telecommunication rules came down hard against the country’s largest carrier, banning it or any other carrier from adding exclusivity clauses into domestic roaming agreements. The report comes after an announcement in December that the CRTC would review the practice of domestic roaming agreements, which allow smaller carriers like Wind, Mobilicity, Videotron and others, to offer cellular service in areas it owns no equipment. In March, the Commission recommended a change to the Telecommunications Act whereby telcos would be barred from charging other carriers more than they charge their own customers for various wireless services.

(more…)

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Tête-à-Tête: Are mid-range phablets killing the tablet?

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Welcome to Tête-à-Tête, a series where two of our writers converse on interesting topics in the mobile landscape — through chat. Think of it as a podcast for readers.

This week, Douglas and Daniel ponder whether the rise of mid-range phablets in the 5.3″ to 6.3″ range are killing tablet sales, or whether people are tired of carrying around too many devices. (more…)

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PlayStation Now open beta launches in Canada, PlayStation 4 only (for now)

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After a few self-conflicting reports on its potential availability, Sony has confirmed via its PlayStation Blog that the PlayStation Now video game streaming service has launched today in Canada and the U.S. as a public beta. The public beta contains over 100 PlayStation 3 titles available for rental with prices varying by time-period: 4-hour ($2.99), 7-day ($5.99), 30-day ($7.99) and 90-day ($14.99). Sony is also considering a subscription model.

(more…)

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Samsung confirms plans to release a high-end smartphone with ‘new materials’

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Samsung is the world’s biggest phone manufacturer, and Kim Hyun-joon, SVP at Samsung’s Mobile Communications division, has gone on record to say two new high-end smartphones will launch within the next six months.

According to Bloomberg, Samsung aims to release a device with “a large screen,” while the other will sport some sort of “new materials.” In addition to hitting the high-end customer, Samsung will also target the mid- to low-end market by selling devices with “enhanced specifications.”

These details are not too shocking, since the Galaxy Note 4 is expected to have a 5.7-inch display that extends to the sides so users can read messages from every angle. The “new materials” could be the 4.8-inch metal encased Galaxy Alpha that recently leaked online.

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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2S debuts on Bell to replace aging Idol X

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Bell was the first Canadian carrier to see the disruptive potential of Alcatel OneTouch, the Chinese OEM that purports to offer high-quality products at prices both affordable to carriers and, in turn, consumers.

The Idol X, an admitted experiment, along with the Idol Mini and Pop 7 tablet, for Bell to gauge demand for mid-range products that mimic the look and feel of ones hundreds of dollars more, turned about to be a successful gambit. We loved the bright screen and high-end finish, but felt the MediaTek processor was underpowered and negatively affected performance. (more…)

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BBM for Windows Phone now available to download

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Attention, Windows Phone users. BlackBerry has announced that after a short one-week beta, BBM will be available today from the Windows Phone Store. The overall experience is the same as iOS and Android, but the team has focused on creating a native design on Microsoft’s mobile platform.

BBM for Windows Phone focuses on 3 different screens, Chats, Feeds and Contacts, and allows for instant chats, group chats, picture sharing and voice notes. A future update to BBM for Windows Phone will bring stickers, BBM Voice, BBM Channels and location sharing by Glympse. (more…)

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Nokia Lumia 635 now available at Rogers and Fido, coming to TELUS in August

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Nokia recently announced on Twitter that new Lumia devices will soon be coming to Canada. The Microsoft-owned manufacturer previously hinted on its website that the Lumia 635, a refresh of the Lumia 625, would arrive on both Rogers and TELUS. It now seems the coming soon date is actually here.

Both Rogers and sub-brand Fido have added the entry-level Lumia 635 to its lineup. The no-term price at at both carriers is $200, or $0 with 2-year contract.

As for specs, the LTE-enabled Lumia 635 runs Windows Phone 8.1, has a 4.5-inch display, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, a 5MP camera that shoots 720p HD videos, 512MB RAM, and an 1830mAh non-removable battery.

Update: The Nokia Lumia 635 will arrive at TELUS sometime in August.

Source: Fido, Rogers

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