Sources say the two former phone monopolies are set to roll out a joint $1 billion upgrade of their wireless networks as early as this fall, months ahead of schedule, that will allow them to support a range of GSM-based devices including Apple Inc.’s iconic iPhone, which so far is only available in Canada through rival Rogers Communications Inc.
Details are scarce, but the buzz among industry insiders is that both Bell and Telus have negotiated deals with Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple, although one source suggested the price being paid "is going to hurt".
The networks have already planned a GSM push for the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 and had originally expected to have rollouts going by then. Moving the rollout dates up by a year would be a significant achievement.
In the US, Verizon has no announced plans to do any kind of HSPA rollout, instead opting to wait until LTE equipment is available in 2011. Sprint is currently rolling out 4G WiMAX networks in various US cities, but nothing compatible with current iPhone equipment.