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.
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…
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.
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.
And last but not least….
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:
|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|
- Data usage over 10 GB: $10/GB
- U.S. data roaming: $3/MB
- One-time activation fee: $35
- Monthly optional paper billing fee: $2
For more information you can visit Bell.