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Bell LTE Turbo Stick

Bell LTE Sierra Wireless U313 Turbo Stick Review

Bell was quick to the draw announcing and launching their LTE (long-term evolution) network in Canada.

The LTE service launched in Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Kitchener Waterloo and Guelph areas on September 14 and Bell is anticipating speeds of between 12 and 25 Megabits per second.

Currently the only device announced is the Sierra Wireless U313 Turbo Stick which can be purchased for $219.95 with no contract or as low as $79.95 in a 3 year contract.

Another device which also appears to be available soon is the Novatel Wireless U679 Turbo Stick and offers similar speeds/service with pricing as low as $59.95 in a 3 year contract.

We were provided with our review unit and have been putting Bell LTE to the test.

Speed

We were more then pleased with the speed when connected to LTE. The indicator on the Sierra Wireless stick will show green when connected via LTE.

When failing over to HPSA+ it will show blue. The average download speed during our week of testing has been 9 mbps.

While this may seem low compared to the potential 75 mpbs that LTE can deliver, it is quite good for an average.

Our lowest was about 6 mpbs which is faster then the current 3G network. And our maximum download speed…

Speed Test

 

A whopping 38 Mb/sec and also take special note of the upload speeds. Almost every home internet package offers no more then 1 Mb/sec upstream, with a very few exceptions from other providers, but to my knowledge, this is the first consumer internet service to deliver more then 2 Mb/sec upstream.

Now these speeds can easily be affected with even the slightest movement so during a commute or a road trip, you may experience quite a few spikes, however service did not disconnect or interfere with our video streaming tests.

Coverage

Bell has provided a coverage map, and from our testing it was very accurate. During a commute via the Go train on the Lakeshore East line, we did not experience LTE until we were almost at the Danforth station.

The LTE service was connected for about 5 minutes before kicking us back to HSPA speeds, and then approaching Toronto Union Station, the LTE service kicked back in, and the screenshot above was actually taken from this journey.

Trying the LTE stick in areas East and West of Toronto resulted in only HSPA+ speeds as expected.

Coverage Map

 

And last but not least….

Price

Given the fact that this device is capable of reaching speeds of up to 75 Mb/sec, if you were to reach those speeds, technically you could exceed the allotted 1.5GB data plan within 10 minutes. So if you were thinking of catching up on the latest tv show, or uploading some pictures or videos to Facebook, you must continue to keep an eye on the data used.

For the 1.5GB data plan, the pricing starts at $45.00 per month, and is tiered in the following price plans:

  $45 $60 $75 $90
Data used in a month Up to 1.5 GB More than 1.5 GB and up to 3 GB More than 3 GB and up to 6 GB More than 6 GB and up to 9 GB
Monthly fee adjusts based on your usage If data use exceeds 1.5 GB, automatically move to $60 tier If data use exceeds 3 GB, automatically move to $75 tier If data use exceeds 6 GB, automatically move to $90 tier Data use exceeding 9 GB will be charged $10/GB

Other details

  • Data usage over 10 GB: $10/GB
  • U.S. data roaming: $3/MB
  • One-time activation fee: $35
  • Monthly optional paper billing fee: $2
[easyreview title=”Bell LTE Service” cat1title=”Speed” cat1detail=”Well as you can see from our speed test screenshots, the LTE service more then lives up to our expectations.” cat1rating=”5.0″ cat2title=”Coverage” cat2detail=”While the coverage maps may indicate LTE is in a vast majority of the GTA and surrounding area, it was difficult to obtain LTE service unless you were in the downtown area or within close range. This seems a bit rushed but only time can tell how quick LTE can expand.” cat2rating=”3.0″ cat3title=”Price” cat3detail=”This is tricky. Comparing the pricing plans to HSPA+ turbo sticks, the plans seem very close. The main problem is the fast speed: Quicker the download speed, the quicker the data usage, and unfortunately also the price. ” cat3rating=”2.0″ summary=”Overall we were impressed with the LTE Turbo Stick and were more then happy with the LTE speeds. Unfortunately until the pricing can provide more data usage , this is not a service for everyone. For normal email and browsing needs, you can expect to stay within the first tier, however with speeds greater then your home internet, you may find yourself going into the next tier.”]

For more information you can visit Bell.

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6 comments

  1. hi, I bought this turbo stick u313 on end of dec, but cannot listen the live radio program as below:

    http://www.am1430.com/liveradio.php

    Since i using roger’s wifi stick before, everything work even this radio site, but now, i try 5 of my computer also got same problem when using this stick.
    When using other kinds of network is work on this site.
    Is any problem on this turbo stick? Can you help to fix it? Please let me know, thanks!!

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