Tag Archives: bell

Mobile Coverage in Guelph, Ontario

To this day, it is hard to find properly documented information regarding cell coverage in certain areas. Although the big 3 providers in Canada do cover a vast majority of urban areas, there are still coverage holes in certain areas. Guelph, mainly on campus, is one of them.

Now I aim this post at anyone who goes to or is thinking about going to the University of Guelph. Although something like this should have been written a few years ago, better late than never, right? Hopefully this will give some insight on which mobile networks work and don’t work at the University of Guelph. After all, a university student needs to stay connected with his friends, doesn’t he?

The Big 3

I refer to the big 3 providers as Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Although there has recently been a few new providers starting up in Canada, I don’t believe they have any market penetration in Guelph at this time or in the near future.

In my opinion, Bell and Telus have very similar coverage. They share cell towers around the country and have numerous other agreements in other service areas. Bell and Telus also launched a new HSPA+ network last year. This has been nicknamed the “Bellus” network. For the less technically inclined person, the Bellus network is a 3G (3rd generation) cell phone network which brings their cell phone speeds on par with Rogers and the rest of the world. All the ads you see on TV today are advertising the current Bellus 3G network.

Bell and Telus also operate an older 2G CDMA network which not only covers metropolitan areas but also covers the most rural areas of Canada.

Rogers operates two networks as well: an older 2G GSM network and a newer 3G network (much like the Bellus HSPA+ network). Unfortunately, Rogers coverage isn’t as prevalent in the outskirt rural areas of Ontario.

Big 3 Resellers

I should mention that the big 3 providers also have smaller discount brands/resellers of their service. It is common for people to have plans with some of these common providers so I thought I’d give you some information. Please refer to the following chart:

Bell: Solo MobileVirgin Mobile
Telus: Koodo
Rogers: FidoChatr

What works and what doesn’t

Around the City of Guelph, all cell phones work without too many problems. The problem area is where students spend most of their time: on campus.

Rogers’ customers will have no problem if their phone works on either 3G or 2G networks.

Bell’s and Telus’ customers will have no problem as long as their phone supports the 3G network.

Bell and Telus customers on their 2G CDMA network will experience highly spotty coverage within the University of Guelph’s campus. It mainly affects the service inside buildings, but it’s still bad enough around the University of Guelph that calls are dropped and data, emails and text messages don’t go through very often.

Recommendations for Rogers Customers

Nothing! You guys are lucky that the school has a Rogers cell tower on top of the library to serve all your needs and keep you connected!

Recommendations for Telus and Bell Customers

If you’re a student that is planning on attending, or are already attending the University of Guelph and you are currently subscribed to Telus or Bell, check to see if your phone is a 3G phone. Chances are, if you bought a new smartphone within the last year or so, such as a Blackberry or iPhone, you should already be utilizing the 3G network. If you have an old, simple phone that doesn’t do anything other than call and text, your phone will likely be on the 2G CDMA network. You can find out this information by Google-ing your phone’s model number, or by calling your service provider (dial *611 on your mobile phone) and asking for technical support.

I must note that during the first week of school, all 3 cell phone providers are on campus promoting their phones and plans. You can find some awesome deals from them so it is wise to wait sometimes.

Why I wrote this quick little article & do we rely on mobile phones too much?

I know there are a fair amount of students who are constantly frustrated about why their phones do not work on campus. They usually do not fully understand why their phones don’t work. It’s also intriguing to see how the tendencies and trends with the student population have changed over the last few years. From my observations, I would estimate that about 50% of students have a smartphone; the majority of them being Blackberries, followed by iPhones and other smartphones.

It’s interesting how the naked feeling of not having your phone or not having cell coverage makes people feel cut-off and isolated. There is even a term called phantom-vibrate-syndrome, for when you think your phone is vibrating when it really isn’t, or when you don’t even have it in on you.

People that have smartphones such as a Blackberry, iPhone and Android platforms feel the need to be constantly connected via email, Twitter and Facebook. These devices rely on reliability and coverage of the mobile networks from Bell, Rogers and Telus to keep people connected with their business and personal lives.

A few weeks ago, the Rogers (and Fido) mobile network in Vancouver went into haywire for 4 hours during business hours so Twitter erupted with people reporting that they couldn’t make a call, send data or text messages or do anything with their phones. Their phones were paper weights. Imagine the impact on businesses during the period. This is equally as bad as the Internet stopping to a halt!

Most university students these days object to purchasing a land-line in their homes in order to save money. Most of them are usually out and about anyways, moving from class to class. Mom and Dad know that they usually have their phone on them all the time, since they’re always keeping in touch with friends. They get worried when they don’t answer, depending on the parent and they sometimes think the worst.

Sometimes we miss an important phone call from a possible employer or even a friend you’re trying to meet up with. Should they really feel that they can contact you right this second? What happened to voice mail and call-backs? Nowadays, people text and email each other and expect a reply instantly.

Similar instances have probably happened to you before. Your friend is meeting you outside of a building and for some reason, you’re running a couple minutes late. Your friend has no clue where you are and is trying to get a hold of you, only for the call to go straight to voice-mail or go unanswered. Everyone gets frustrated! As our society grows reliant on cell phones and being connected instantly, people get anxious when someone isn’t there right away.

Hope this helps!

Hopefully, users within the University of Guelph campus find some of this mobile phone information useful since many of us only rely on mobile phones to communicate now. I believe that less and less people will have issues with their coverage as most wireless subscribers who upgrade or purchase a new phone today will be on the newer 3G networks provided by Rogers, Bell and Telus. If you have any questions, comments, or think some of this information is inaccurate, leave a message/reply and I’ll respond as soon as possible.

Further Reading

If you are serious about finding out more information about cell phone networks in your area, forums are a great place to start. They provide experience from other users that likely have similar problems or questions.

Howard Forums has some great community information for Canadian Mobile Carriers.
Loxcel Cell Tower MapSpatial Tower Map provides local cell tower information – It’s always interesting to see where the nearest cell towers are in your area.

wind mobile launches

In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, WIND mobile got the OK from our Canadian goverment early last week. WIND mobile is probably the largest new wireless providers entering into country.

What does this mean for you?
Firstly, go to Bell, Telus, or Rogers and check out their plans…
Secondly, compare those plans to WIND mobile’s plans.
Thirdly, think about how Canadian cell providers rip most people off.
Fourthly, Pray that it’ll lower the average wireless rates in the next few years.

You should notice a significant difference in the monthly rate as well as NO CONTRACTS at all. I’m not going to bother comparing exact numbers cause I’m too lazy to do the math and I’m sure the 3 big providers will begin re-shaping their plans in the next year.

WIND has a two-zone system (Home/Away zones) setup in Calgary and Toronto with expansion in Vancouver and Ottawa in the next few months. They are fairly limited and if you step out of the home zone, you will be charged 25cents a minute (this likely doesn’t include long distance fees which would be 15cents extra a minute). This sorta system is probably not well suited for the average university student as they are likely living outside the home-zone area and are visiting friends in other schools.

WIND’s network is a 3G network within its Home zone, however it will fall-back to EDGE (2G) on Roger’s network while roaming. It uses the 3G AWS spectrum, the same spectrum which is used by T-mobile in the USA. Please note that these phones are unlockable, but they are NOT compatible with regular HSPA+ networks. So don’t buy a WIND or T-Mobile phone and unlock it hoping to use it for rogers/bell/telus.

I don’t personally know anyone using this new network, but would be interested to see what happens when it is fully expanded to Vancouver. If you are near the end of your cell term. Consider waiting a few months to see what happens as I think the big 3 providers will offer better deals in order to prevent people from switching. Perhaps they’ll lean towards 2-year contracts instead of the dreaded 3-year deals they currently have.

Lastly, if you haven’t seen some of their promo videos already, take a look here

Here’s some other info/links for further reading:

BGR – How WIND mobile changed Canada in less than 24 hours
Wikipedia – Wind Mobile
WIND Mobile Blog