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TELUS aims to shut down its CDMA network in 2015

cdma-telus

Technology evolves and what was once advanced becomes obsolete. Such is the fate of CDMA.

Over the past several years, TELUS has invested millions, if not billions of dollars into enhancing their HSPA+ and LTE networks, and doesn’t even list the now-outdated CDMA network on its coverage map. And now they’re set to to begin shutting it down.

According to an internal doc we received, “CDMA technology is reaching the end of its service life,” and TELUS will start a “CDMA Migration Campaign” to transfer customers off this old technology. March 31, 2014 is when “TELUS will be discontinuing EVDO data service on the CDMA network in all of BC and AB (excluding Edmonton and Calgary).” There’s no indication of how many wireless customers are still using CDMA devices, but “to ensure their service is not disrupted,” TELUS will be sending a letter to them offering an upgrade to a 4G HSPA+ compatible device.

The doc also notes that not all CDMA devices will be impacted and “only customers that have been contacted and have offers loaded on account are eligible.” Apparently those eligible are located in BC and AB (excluding Edmonton and Calgary) and either have the wrong PRL code or a device that cannot be updated.

Finally, for a target date, TELUS says they’re “aiming to shutdown the CDMA network in 2015.”

(Thanks tipster!)

  • magesnz

    Yes most of northern canada uses cdma and public mobile users use cdma on our side of the border but in the us, sprint, verizon and whole bunch still use cdma everyday

  • ns.dev

    IIRC OnStar (GM) still uses CDMA in their cars.

    • Balls O’Steele

      What band does CDMA use? Can it be repurposed for LTE or HSPA?

    • willzzz88

      GM now has developed a version of OnStar on GSM networks for Latin America/Europe and future Asia expansion. First country was Mexico which is running on the GSM/UMTS/HSPA+ network of Movistar (Telefonica) on NA 850/1900MHz. So in theory those cars need a hardware swap.

    • gmd

      Telus will have bandwidth to spare…
      - no more iDEN
      - no more CDMA

      Why do they want to get in the next auction? Right, to keep others out.

    • ScooterinAB

      No. They entered the Spectrum Auction because that spectrum allows a network to cover more area. What little services they can carry over this aged network is by no means “bandwidth to spare.”

      This has nothing to do with keeping the little guy out. This is about Telus being able to serve their customers over the next few decades.

    • Carter Loose

      Isn’t OnStar Satellite?

    • jsebean

      No.

  • johnny mcsite

    Not really surprising that people still have a CDMA device, not everybody needs the newest phone every few months. Some people can operate perfectly fine with an older device. Older phones are far more reliable than new devices, don’t cost a fortune and can actually take impacts when dropped without breaking. There is some really incredible knowledge for you.

  • Sam

    That Better CDMA go down.. I really dont like CDMA because this soo limited speed… I like HSPA because more fast speed, anywhere in counties with unlocked more easy and save your money for roaming :D

    • DrWhoWhat

      Reading that hurt my head.

    • Steve

      Me too

    • jcox20

      All I got from that was that someone likes or dislikes cellphones… Or something…

  • Pat

    I remember when they were turning the AMPS network down, couldn’t believe people were still using those phones either. However like magesnz points out there’s lots of people still using CDMA. I’m actually surprised they’re pulling the plug this early.

    • thomas nguyen

      they are not pulling the plug on all CDMA services, just EVDO which is equivalent to their faster data speed for the network, voice will still work, as will data, just super slow

  • dr evil

    I can still remember when robbers finally turned off its tdma analog network with the introduction to the gsm standard. Man, I’m old.

    • gommer strike

      lol, year 2000 was just yesterday. Try remembering the 1987 DynaTAC 6000XL car phone. You young whippersnappers…

    • dr evil

      Remembering from story books vs real life are very different things. It also doesn’t make that my first phone foo. BTW the same network ran both.

    • gommer strike

      got news for you, the phone I just spoke of above, did actually exist, whether you believe it or not. Maybe you never used it, but it doesn’t make it a fairy tale. google it.

  • Ry29

    I didn’t think this would come so soon. Not surprised, but with Verizon gearing for 2019, a 6 month window for Telus seems very aggressive.

    I wonder how many they have left… Bell stated in their last quarterly report they still had 1 million cdma customers.

    • Carter Loose

      Well Verizon had exclusively used CDMA not very long ago. Telus stopped switched to selling GSM a long time ago

    • Ry29

      Verizon still uses it today on all handsets for voice. Until VoLTE is mainstream.

      Afiak, you could activate a cdma phone with Telus as of this year. Now it seems they only do so for Northern Ontario residents

    • BMSMA

      I thought Telus never had GSM, I remember buying a HTC Desire only to find out its GSM band was disabled and had to root and flash a rom to use GSM when going to the US.

    • thomas nguyen

      you are correct, TELUS and Bell switched directly to HSPA and its subsequent upgrades, GSM and EDGE are only used by Rogers in Canada.

    • Delphus

      Telus only switched in 2009 with their Bell/Telus network upgrade for the HSPA+.

    • thomas nguyen

      this is just high speed CDMA data (speed in this case is relative). you can still have voice call on the CDMA network without EVDO. and you can still have data on 1x, just… extremely slow.

      so they are not shutting down the network, just the data portion of it, and seems to be only in the west.

      though like Jim -Rogers Rep states, time seems to be limited for CDMA clients.

  • EvanKrosney

    I remember my aunt being forced to upgrade back when Rogers shut down their TDMA network a few years back. And to this day she’s still using the Nokia flip phone that they forced her onto :P

  • Blocknards

    That’ll make roaming interesting for Sprint and Verizon customers…

    • Stephen_81

      Verizon and Sprint are both using LTE for Data more and more. Telus isn’t killing their CDMA voice, just CDMA data, I suspect voice will go when Verizon updates to VoLTE and Telus can support it

    • willzzz88

      There have been cases of Verizon phones accidentally roaming onto the TELUS UMTS/HSPA+ network in the US across the border from Canada (e.g. NY and MI) and also in CA. VZW already has the processes and tools, just need to be enabled. Also nearly EVERY 4G LTE phone VZW has sold within the last ~1.5 years has been globally capable with GSM and UMTS on the world bands as well. VZW is a premier carrier in the US and has international travelers in the Americas, Europe, Asia, etc and Fortune 500 contracts. Sprint will be mostly impacted because only recently have Sprint devices with LTE have included GSM and only certain ones at that. Verizon tends to have higher ARPU, Sprint less. Also VZW LTE devices within the last year also have LTE Band 4 (AWS) allowing VZW in the future to enable FULL LTE roaming across Canada as VZW’s 700MHz Block C is already congested and VZW has 40MHz of AWS Spectrum it is launching LTE on. T-Mobile is also right now launching LTE on 10×10 (already active in most major metro areas) from 5×5 once they shut-down the MetroPCS CDMA and migrate their customers to GSM. AT&T has LTE in AWS in SOME areas. For Canadians looking for LTE roaming it would be T-Mobile, Verizon and then AT&T. Sprint is out of the game and has the least compatible network with worldwide standards.

  • Hank

    No, you’re incredible

    • thomas nguyen

      no, he is Just Incredible! no more, no less

  • Ryan

    1. Does this effect Telus customers in Ontario?
    2. Family member has an LG285 flip phone which I believe is CDMA. They only use it as (strangely enough) a phone, no internet. Would this effect him?

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      1) Telus in Ontario uses Bell’s network so watch them for their announcement, I imagine it will be soon,
      2) EVDO is strictly data services like 3G and LTE so unless you see an announcement that Bell is decommissioning the 1x network you should be good, also it is not likely that they will remove the 1x network any time soon due to Roaming agreements with Verizon and Sprint. this is also the network Public Mobile uses (I think)
      3) Likely not, though with that said anyone that is presently using the CDMA Network on Bell/Telus should have been fully eligible for upgrade last year at the latest. as for prepaid well… as a prepaid client you know what you are getting into.

      in summation,
      Your family member should be safe for the moment though time is clearly limited.

    • TB

      Just a quick correction, Bell/Telus do not share CDMA networks like they do with UMTS/LTE. They may roam on each others networks but have huge overlap where they both operate separate networks like in Ontario.

      The real reason for the shutdown is to make some adjustments to the way the frequencies are currently being used and move the data users from EVDO over to a 3G/4G where its been proven that the ARPU will go up.

      Like every move by a big company it’s completely self serving.

      They (Telus) will probably not shutdown EVDO in Ontario just yet as conditions in the partnership between Bell & Telus makes moving clients to UMTS only profit Bell.

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      My mistake, I thought they utilized the same network in Ontario in the CDMA days as well.

  • Ry29

    Wait a sec, the way it’s worded, they are shutting down just EVDO by April 2014. 1X is not impacted.
    So CDMA is still around, just with blistering speeds of ~100kbps.
    I guess it will allow roamers to continue, but free up antenna room/spectrum, as EVDO and 1X were separate antenna/radios.

    • TB

      Correct, things like OnStar will continue to work

  • BMSMA

    I know a few people who still use CDMA phones, I’m pretty sure they will eventually swap for a HSPA phone before hand anyways.

    I still have my BB Pearl Flip which is CDMA, still gets service too.

  • Eric G.

    CDMA has better coverage in northern QC. They better improve the HSPA coverage before turning the switch OFF otherwise lots of people will be pissed.

    • thomas nguyen

      think they just mentioned “TELUS will be discontinuing EVDO data service on the CDMA network in all of BC and AB”

  • grantdude

    Wait, the thing is stil on?

  • theundeadtailor

    It was an HTC Incredible?

  • Lyndon MacLeod

    Gonna be a lot of Rumor 2′s hitting Kijiji when that happens. :P

  • Richard Wangly

    While it would be surprising to hear that there are a large number of EVDO users, CDMA users are everywhere.

    They can be observed texting briefly, talking on devices that are hidden by their hands, and most of all, not-staring-at-facebook-at-every-free-second-of-their-lives.

    • IT Guy

      EVDO is widely used in EMS services. This was very costly news to the health and law enforcement industries.

    • Dieter Moreno

      How little I stare at Facebook on my mobile is I only use 5 Mbytes a month.

      I use the phone for phone calls and texting much more than Facebook.

      Who needs to pay for a smart phone when you have a computer at home?

  • formulaphone

    CDMA has better coverage in rural Newfoundland as well (which is most of the province).
    I work for a Telus dealer, and we still get quite a number of people wanting to buy CDMA devices, due to coverage. They might not be the most capable devices, but in a lot of cases they can get reception just about anywhere
    Sadly though, the last CDMA device we sold was the BlackBerry Style 9670 :/

    • GrimConch

      Unfortunately this is the case in rural BC/AB as well… or more importantly, where people in the resource sector spend most of their time. And even in semi-populated areas it’s not so much the locations but the range, basically anyone on the edge of a service area needs those old CDMA phones to have service. Get ready to buy a signal booster I guess.

    • jcox20

      Would be a good time to start carrying boosters that will boost the LTE bands

  • Richard Wangly

    Daniel – just wondering if there’s a reason the document wasn’t posted in its entirety. The article is a bit of a confusing read as the image only addresses data access.

  • ohmy

    And of course the old phones have a much higher wattage, in mountainous areas that is critical for uninterrupted tower contact, as in the middle of conversations.

  • Dieter Moreno

    I still use a 2010 CDMA 1x 3G phone that still has a touch tone pad and slide keyboard with the GPRS speeds of 40k that takes about 30 seconds for every Facebook page to load, depending on network congestion, sometimes a Facebook page can take 2 minutes to load (so at only 10k speed maybe) if I’m at a concert with many people on their phones at once. I don’t need mobile broad band because I already have broad band home internet at home. That’s how rare I use data on my phone that 40k is not a problem for me. I only use about 5 Mbytes of data a month.

    I heard AT&T is shutting down GPRS in 2017. I have Verizon, so I’m safe for now.

    I guess the FCC isn’t going to shut every one down at once like they did for digital TV.

    I don’t want a touch screen on a cell phone. I prefer the touch tone pad and the slide out keyboard.

    I like to just dial the numbers I have memorized like I always have, I don’t want to run apps on a touch screen just to dial a number.

    I don’t need a smart phone.

    I’m going to be that guy that buys a digital converter box for his phone when those start being made.

  • Free PHONE Guy

    We just got the same message from Bell. I suspect they need to make room for 700 Mhz space on their towers, since the ideal antenna would be larger than 800 mhz system. Most the 800 mhz cdma antenna systems are old, and need to be replaced or upgraded.; To which they will be wining about THE COST for years to come. And CDMA has been dead for about 4 years.

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