Telus preps 1X network for June launch

Telus Mobility may be third in the 2.5G race, but an analyst says this isn’t the important one to win.

The Burnaby, B.C.-based company said this week it is still performing trials in Toronto on a1X network service it

hopes to launch in June.

Laurie Smith, manager of corporate communications for Telus, says a number of companies have been enlisted to test laptops and PDAs equipped with a Sierra Wireless AirCard 555. She says the product will be of great interest to large companies looking for a mobile solution.

“”I think a lot of organizations are looking to integrate wireless solutions like this into their work spaces and this is going to a natural progression,”” Smith says.

IDC Canada Ltd. analyst Lawrence Surtees says he doesn’t believe businesses will stampede to adopt 2.5G technology. He says Canadian consumers spend twice as much on wireless whether it be voice or data.

“”If you ask a bunch of the big businesses, ‘Are you using wireless in your corporate MIS communication infrastructures?’ They say, no, but they say they want it. Over 80 per cent would like to or plan to adopt wireless, but they say there’s a bunch of things holding them back, of which the slower speed of wireless networks is only one factor,”” Surtees says.

“”Others are a lack of compelling applications that they need for largely business-to-business type stuff. The perception wireless isn’t secure is also a huge thing, and to some extent ease of using or interfacing with the other corporate MIS computer shop and ubiquitous geographic coverage.””

Smith says as far as security goes the solution is sound. “”The 1X network is no more or less secure that a CDMA network is overall and that’s pretty tough to crack,”” she says. “”The companies who’ll be using the 1X network for access to their corporate networks and so forth will probably be using their own VPN security systems.””

According to Surtees, 2.5G networks (Bell Mobility launched its 1X network in Toronto in March, while Rogers launched a GPRS network last fall) are fighting more than security concerns. He says no matter how safe the systems are, they aren’t fast enough.

“”(A) 2.5G (network) gives me 144 (kbps). Great, two and a bit times faster than regular dialup. For e-mail, for my RIM that’s a nice improvement, but for really cool stuff you gotta get faster,”” Surtees says. “”3G is looking at almost tripling that while you’re on the move, but standing still here’s the key–you’ll get two two mbps access. That’s faster than your DSL at home.””

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