Telus, Bell upgrade Sea to Sky corridor cellular service 

Data transferring faster on modern smart phones

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Telus and Bell mobile users with a new smart phone have likely noticed applications are downloading more quickly than ever and data is moving at faster speeds.

Telus has reported that it has just completed a $1.7 million system upgrade to bring the fastest mobile service technology in the world to the Sea to Sky corridor. Bell and Telus customers with the latest mobile phones are now tapping into 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) cellular service while those with older phones or service provided by Rogers are accessing slower services like 4G Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+).

The higher speed LTE service moves data at up to 75 megabits per second (Mbps) while HSPA+ pushes data at up to 42 Mbps.

Jacqueline Michelis of Bell's media relations department in Ottawa confirmed this week that the corridor was recently updated with the new technology.

Shawn Hall from the Telus media relations office said that what it simply means for Telus customers with modern smart phones is that download speeds will be comparable to the speed that data moves through a wired Internet connection.

"You have to have an LTE device in order for it to work on this network," said Hall from Vancouver. "It is like upgrading from a DVD player to a Blue Ray player. The new iPhone 5, for example, is compatible with LTE. What you will notice is that your wireless Internet speeds are two or three times faster."

In addition to moving data faster, Hall said the upgrade means streaming video using a smart phone is also improved. He said there isn't much difference with voice operations as the improvements are found with data movement.

Hall added that LTE is emerging as the international standard for wireless service.

"This is a significant investment we've made," said Hall. "We had to visit every wireless site that we have from Pemberton all the way down to Lions Bay and add new technology and upgrade systems."

The other major national wireless phone and data service provider, Rogers, is still using the slower 4G HSPA+ system in the Sea to Sky corridor. Rogers indicates through its website that it is in the process of upgrading to the LTE technology.

The latest communication devices from Motorola, LG, Samsung, HTC, Apple, Huawei and Blackberry are all compatible with 4G LTE technology.

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