The end of an era is near.
According to sources, Bell will begin decommissioning its CDMA network, starting in Alberta, British Columbia and the Gaspé region of Québec, on January 31, 2017.
Since its heyday, Canadian carriers have transitioned to the evolved GSM standard, building out networks that support HSPA and LTE, which incorporates SIM cards for easy device switching and billing. We first reported Bell’s intention to shutter its CDMA network back in April 2014. At that time, Bell had not set a specific timeline for the move.
“Decommissioning CDMA will affect all voice, text and data services over the 1XRTT network,” said a source within Bell. Customers currently using a Bell CDMA device will have to move to a HSPA+ or LTE capable device.
After it completes the first phase of the shutdown, Bell will proceed to decommission parts of the network in Saskatchewan on June 30th. It will then do the same in Ontario, Québec and the Atlantic provinces, as well as Fort Nelson, British Columbia, sometime in April 2018.
The total number of Bell customers still on the company’s network is approximately 459,000. During its most earnings call, Bell reported 8,280,000 total subscribers.