Telus Mobility

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Telus Mobility Inc.
Formerly called
AGT Mobility
Industry Mobile network operator
Founded Edmonton, Alberta (1984)
Headquarters Vancouver, British Columbia
Products Feature phones, mobile broadband modems, smartphones (Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Windows Phone), tablet computers
Services CDMA2000, HSPA (including HSPA+), LTE, mobile broadband, SMS, telephony
Parent Telus

Telus Mobility is a division of Telus which sells wireless services in Canada on its numerous networks. It has three different networks based on four different technologies: CDMA, HSPA+, and LTE on its mainstream networks. As of quarter 1 2016, Telus is Canada's second-largest cellphone provider with a subscriber base of over 8.387 million.[1]

Since 2008, Telus has operated a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) named Koodo Mobile. Koodo is targeted at high school, college and university students, much like the now-defunct Amp'd Mobile Canada that preceded it in 2007.

As of 2014, Telus Mobility has completed the purchase of Public Mobile, which operates as a MVNO on the Telus 4G network. The purchase of Public Mobile increased Telus' subscriber base to 8.3 million.



AGT Mobility was formed in 1982 by Alberta Government Telephones (the predecessor to Telus) to provide a 1G analogue mobile network for Alberta's natural resources industries. It was the first mobile phone network in Canada. Analogue services became available to the general public in 1986.


In 1992, AGT launched North America's first digital mobile network. Following the merger of Telus with BC Tel in 1999, Telus Mobility expanded its coverage to British Columbia.[2] The company's website went online on October 14, 1999.[3] The following year Telus acquired Clearnet Communications and QuébecTel to expand its coverage to the central provinces. All these acquisitions, along with a tower-sharing agreement with then-primarily Eastern Canada based Bell Mobility, allowed Telus Mobility offer its CDMA network in all Canadian provinces.[4] Bell and Telus continued their partnership for future network construction.


Telus Mobility discontinued its AMPS analog network in February 2008, and launched its HSPA+ network in November 2009. Telus offered landlines to customers affected by the AMPS network's shutdown in rural areas, as digital signals are less reliable than analog ones in such areas.[5] Following both events, Telus began a slow phasing out of CDMA devices, especially those that support both AMPS and CDMA technologies.


Telus Mobility launched its LTE network in February 2012, and it stopped selling CDMA devices, except those on clearance.

In 2013, Telus was approved by the Canadian government to purchase independent wireless carrier Public Mobile.

On March 27, 2014, Telus' Public Mobile customers were notified that Public Mobile's existing CDMA network would be shut down, by August 2014, and that customers wishing to continue service would need to buy phones compatible with Telus' network. The last day of service on Public Mobile's CDMA network was August 8, 2014.

Telus shut down its pager network on March 31, 2015.[6]

Telus shut down its Mike iDEN network on January 29, 2016.[7]


Telus Mobility partners with Bell Mobility to operate three different kinds of nationwide networks in Canada. These networks include a legacy CDMA network, an HSPA+ network with newer technology, and an LTE network which has limited coverage in rural areas.


Since the late 1990s, Telus Mobility has operated a CDMA2000 (commonly referred to as CDMA) network, which included 3G Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) enhancements until it was shut down on Telus' cell phone towers in 2014. Telus Mobility ceased expanding the CDMA network towards the late 2000s. This is due to its limited worldwide popularity and roaming possibilities, and to Telus' increased focus on HSPA+ and LTE technologies.[8] Since launching its LTE network, TELUS has discontinued selling CDMA devices. The CDMA network remains available for customers with legacy devices.

Telus lost CDMA network coverage in most of Northern Ontario on October 1, 2014, when CDMA service was discontinued by its partner, Tbaytel.[9]

On September 18, 2013, at a conference with investors, Telus' Chief Financial Officer stated that he expected that Telus' CDMA network would shut down within two years.[10]

In 2014, Telus shut down its EV-DO network throughout British Columbia and Alberta.[11][12]

Telus' 2015 annual report, released in April 2016,[13] states "We expect to continue operating our CDMA network at least through to the end of 2016." It started sending text messages at the end of May 2016 stating CDMA service ends January 31, 2017.[14]

As of January 31, 2015, Telus ceased offering roaming on CDMA outside of Canada and the United States.[15]

Public Mobile, which Telus purchased in 2013, operated a CDMA network. On March 27, 2014, Public Mobile customers were notified that this network would be shut down by August 2014, and that customers wishing to continue service would need to buy phones compatible with Telus' 4G network.[16] The last day of service on Public Mobile's CDMA network was August 8, 2014.[17]


Telus Communications acquired Clearnet Communications in 1999, which included an Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN) branded as Mike.

In October 2013, Telus launched Telus Link, a push-to-talk service over HSPA+, LTE, and Wi-Fi. This service runs on iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices, and was launched with the intent of replacing the Mike network.

The Mike network was shut down on January 29, 2016.[7]


On November 5, 2009, Telus launched HSPA+ services the day after Bell launched the services on their network; much of the 3G infrastructure is shared between the two carriers.[18] This newer technology eliminates many of the limitations found with CDMA technology. The launch of this additional network allowed Telus to become the third Canadian carrier to offer iPhone products. The HSPA+ network meant that Telus saved money by avoiding the purchase of expensive CDMA-based devices while obtaining the more popular HSPA devices at a lower cost.

The combined single-channel HSPA+ network is available to 97% of the Canadian population. It provides download speeds of up to 21 Mbit/s, with typical speeds ranging between 4 and 6 Mbit/s. About 70% of the Canadian population are located in Telus' dual-channel coverage areas, which doubles the maximum throughput to 42 Mbit/s with typical speeds of 7 to 14 Mbit/s.[19]

This network operates on the frequencies of 850/1900 MHz. Although Rogers Wireless and its brand Fido operate HSPA+ networks separate from Telus and Bell, they transmit using the same frequencies. While Telus and Bell use the HSPA+ standard as established by the GSM group, neither company operates a basic 2G GSM network.

Telus' HSPA+ network coverage is in all Canadian provinces and two territories, but it is not possible to drive in Canada between the Pacific coast and the Atlantic coast without going through areas without any cellular coverage, as there are gaps in cellular coverage in British Columbia and Ontario.[20]


LTE service for Telus launched on February 10, 2012 through a partnership with Bell.[21] It provides download speeds of up to 75 Mbit/s, with typical speeds ranging between 12 and 25 Mbit/s. Telus charges the same price for its HSPA+ and LTE services.[22]

As of August 2015, LTE coverage is primarily in mid to large sized cities, and is a fraction of the coverage area of TELUS' HSPA+ network. Steinbach, MB (population 13,500) is the largest Canadian community without LTE coverage from TELUS. Except near Canada's largest metropolitan areas, contiguous LTE coverage does not exist between communities.

Bell Mobility, which shares towers and coverage with Telus, intends to expand LTE coverage to 98% of the Canadian population by the end of 2016.[23] As a consequence, Telus' coverage will similarly expand. In April 2015, Telus announced that all of its wireless sites in British Columbia and Alberta will be upgraded to LTE.[24][25] According to Telus, as of March 31, 2016, it had LTE coverage available 97% of the Canadian population and LTE Advance coverage available to 50% of the Canadian population.[26]

In May 2016, Telus announced that by the end of the year, it would expand its coverage to 99% of British Columbians and expand its LTE coverage to 98% of British Columbians, expand its LTE coverage to 99% of Albertans, and expand its LTE coverage to 99% of Ontarians.[27][28][29]

On April 18, 2016, Telus launched Voice over LTE (VoLTE), in one geographic area on two smartphone models.[30]

Radio frequency summary[edit]

Frequencies used on the Telus Mobility Network
Frequency range Band number Protocol Class Status Note(s)
850 MHz CLR 5 UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA+/DC-HSPA+ 3G/"4G" Active Fallback for calls.
1,900 MHz PCS 2 UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA+/DC-HSPA+ 3G/"4G" Active Fallback for calls.
850 MHz CLR 5 LTE 4G Active / Being deployed Used for extra bandwidth within cities and rural coverage. Only seen in British Columbia.[31] Re-farmed from Decommissioning CDMA network.
1,900 MHz PCS 2 LTE / LTE Advanced 4G Active / Being deployed Secondary LTE Band being deployed and used for LTE / LTE Advanced coverage. Re-farmed from Decommissioning CDMA network.
700 MHz A/B/C/D 12/17/29 LTE / LTE Advanced 4G Active / Being deployed Mainly used in rural areas / rural coverage.
1,700/2,100 MHz AWS 4 LTE / LTE Advanced 4G Active Main LTE Band used across the country. Also being used to provide LTE Advanced coverage.
2,600 MHz IMT-E 7 LTE / LTE Advanced 4G Active / Being deployed Found in select markets, but being developed slowly in new markets along side to provide LTE Advanced coverage.


Telus' product lineup mainly consists of smartphones but also includes a few feature phones. Smartphones are currently sold with one of four operating systems preloaded: Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS or Windows Phone.

Telus also sells several mobile broadband modems for use with its mobile broadband service. All modems currently sold support HSPA+ and LTE, and can connect to a personal computer via an Universal Serial Bus (USB) port, while some also provide Internet access to multiple devices via Wi-Fi and thus do not require a wired connection.



Telus Mobility sells a variety of voice plans. These include a fixed amount of minutes plus unlimited calling on weeknights, weekends and with up to four other Telus lines on the same account. Caller ID and a basic voicemail for up to three messages are also included as calling features, although airtime is charged for accessing the latter. All voice plans except for the least expensive one also allow the choice of one additional feature: double minutes, five favourite numbers or unlimited Canada-wide SMS/MMS messaging. For the five favourite numbers, unlimited calling is available in either local or Canada-wide options while messaging to these numbers is Canada-wide.

Partners Skype and Telehop offer long distance services for Telus Mobility customers. The first service uses Voice over IP (VoIP) and requires a mobile broadband connection, while the latter uses traditional telephony through the dialing code #100. The Telehop service, which deducts minutes when used during weekdays, cannot be use for calls terminating in Canada or the United States.

Mobile Internet[edit]

Telus offers several Internet-only and smartphone plans and add-ons for customers wishing to access mobile broadband. Only one plan can be added per device, and certain plans are only available for certain devices.

Some grandfathered customers have an unlimited mobile Internet plan or add-on. These are usually limited to older and slower CDMA devices and normally cannot be used for tethering unless the device is a mobile broadband modem.

Mobile payment[edit]

See also: Mobile payment

Telus Mobility postpaid customers with a compatible smartphone can subscribe to Skype (and formerly also Rdio) and be billed for the service on their monthly bill. Use of either service on the Telus Mobility network requires a subscription to one of the provider's data plans or add-ons.[32]


Project Cleanfeed Canada[edit]

In November 2006, supposedly to prevent access to child pornography sites, Telus and many other Internet service providers agreed to partner with[33] with the latter organization's Project Cleanfeed Canada. This project is an initiative which backers claim is designed to block access to child pornography on the Internet via an encrypted blacklist of known sites that host images of prepubescent children.[34] Telus Mobility customers using mobile Internet services cannot access the sites blocked by the project.

The initiative has been denounced, as it is fundamentally a censorship system applied to public communications.[35] Critics point out, that, among other problems common to censorship systems, it could easily later be re-purposed, perhaps quietly or too quickly to stop, for whatever desired object, that may have nothing whatsoever to do with the reasons backers claimed to have built/to be building it for.

Sale of pornography[edit]

In 2007, Telus Mobility began selling in-house pay-per-download pornographic entertainment, including explicit pictures and videos, via its phones.[36] Industry analysts described the action, the first by a North American wireless company, as a landmark move.[37] However, the company later discontinued sales of such content in response to objections from religious groups.[38][39]

Incoming text message fee[edit]

In July 2008, Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility simultaneously introduced charges of 15¢ for every incoming text message received by all customers not subscribed to a text messaging plan. Critics were quick to point out that there is no way of blocking incoming message fees and suggested Telus and Bell were price fixing as both had announced the fees simultaneously.[40] Both companies have been sued by frustrated consumers and subscribers, as they demand change in text charges.[41] Many customers were frustrated because this fee also applies to existing customers with ongoing contracts.[42] As of 2014, the only plans in which Telus and Bell charge per message (either outgoing or incoming) are pay-per-use prepaid plans.[43][44] All monthly rate plans include at least unlimited text messaging to numbers within Canada.[45] Additionally, in a 2014 press release Telus stated that charges elicited from unwanted spam text messages can be waived at the customer's request.[46][47]


From 2008 to 2011 inclusively, Telus Mobility sold pink BlackBerry phones where a portion of each sale would support breast cancer research. This included the BlackBerry Curve and the BlackBerry Pearl consumer models.[48] In 2012, Telus introduced a new campaign entitled "$25 for Free the Children" to replace the breast cancer campaign. For every purchase of the Samsung Galaxy S III or the Samsung Galaxy Ace Q, TELUS will donate $25 to Free the Children, up to a maximum of $650,000. Both phones include a We Day-themed gel skin to fit the respective phone purchased.[49]

Retail presence[edit]

Prepaid TELUS phones

Telus Mobility has its own corporate retail stores and also allows third parties to become exclusive dealers. Best Buy, Walmart and selected Loblaws stores in Canada provide Telus products, prepaid and/or postpaid services.

The Loblaws PC Telecom mobile virtual network operator repackages a mix of Bell prepaid and Telus postpaid services;[50] some stores also offer handsets and prepaid minutes under the original network banners.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ TELUS History
  3. ^ TELUS Mobility 1999
  4. ^ Clearnet coverage map in 1998
  5. ^ "CBC News - British Columbia - Telus upgrade could hurt rural B.C. cell customers". 2008-08-29. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  6. ^ TELUS discontinuing pager service March 31st
  7. ^ a b Important Service Notice: Mike is retiring
  8. ^ [2], CBC announcement.
  9. ^ CDMA Mobility Network Decommissioning
  10. ^ Telus weighs mothballing legacy wireless network to cut costs
  11. ^ TELUS aims to shut down its CDMA network in 2015
  12. ^ CDMA Network Changes in Canada
  13. ^ 2015 Annual Report
  14. ^ Telus to shutter CDMA service on January 31, 2017
  15. ^ Coverage maps & service availability
  16. ^ Telus’s decision to shut Public Mobile angers consumers
  17. ^ Our new 4G network is ready
  18. ^ Bell, TELUS Prepare for 3G HSPA Network Launch
  19. ^ 3G+ network
  20. ^ Coverage within Canada | Travel | Plans | TELUS Mobility
  21. ^ Trichur, Rita (2012-02-09). "Telus launches LTE wireless in 14 cities". Toronto: Globe and Mail. 
  22. ^ Hardy, Ian. "TELUS is not introducing a premium 4G LTE-only rate plan". Mobile Syrup. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  23. ^ BCE reports 2015 Q4 and full - year results, announces 2016 financial targets Common share dividend increased 5.0% to $2.73 per year
  24. ^ TELUS will invest $4.2 billion across Alberta through 2018
  25. ^ TELUS will invest $4 billion across British Columbia through 2018
  26. ^ TELUS reports results for first quarter 2016
  27. ^ TELUS investing $370 million in Vancouver in 2016
  28. ^ TELUS investing $275 million in Edmonton in 2016
  29. ^ TELUS investing $62 million in the Greater Toronto Area in 2016
  30. ^ Telus launches Voice over LTE in Lower Mainland B.C.
  31. ^
  32. ^ Rdio | TELUS Mobility
  33. ^
  34. ^ Michael Geist (2006-11-24). "Project Cleanfeed Canada". Michael Geist. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  35. ^ Michael Geist (2006-12-04). "Child porn plan a risk worth taking". Toronto: Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  36. ^ Naked ambitions put Telus on the spot
  37. ^ Unnati Gandhi (2007-02-13). "Is Telus willing to accept the scorn with its porn?". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. 
  38. ^ Chris Fournier (2007-02-21). "Telus Stops Selling Porn After Protests From Catholic Church". Bloomberg. 
  39. ^ World Business Briefing | Americas: Canada: Pornography Service Halted
  40. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ Telus Mobility. [3] Retrieved March 29, 2014
  44. ^ Bell Mobility. [4] Retrieved March 29, 2014
  45. ^ Telus Mobility. [5] Retrieved March 29, 2014
  46. ^ Canada Classic Edition. [6] Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  47. ^ Telus. [7] Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  48. ^ "Go Pink". Telus Communications. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  49. ^ "$25 for Free The Children". Telus Communications. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  50. ^

External links[edit]