Canadian Telco Upgrades 50-Year-Old Infrastructure to Deliver LTE to Rural Communities

SaskTel and Huawei today announced the signing of an agreement to launch a long term evolution fixed wireless trial in Saskatchewan.

The trial will determine the feasibility of wireless broadband and voice services for customers in predominantly rural locations.

“This is another great first in a long list of firsts for SaskTel, and I am pleased that SaskTel is continuing its commitment to investigating opportunities to provide rural customers with advanced communications solutions,” Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said.

“We are very pleased to be working with SaskTel in launching Canada’s first 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE deployment,” said Huawei Canada president Sean Yang. “The ability to bring next generation high-speed wireless technology to residents and businesses across the Province is critical to ensuring Saskatchewan is able to compete and innovate with markets around the world.”

The trial will occur in a minimum of three rural locations. LTE will reach download speeds of up to100 Mbps per second, compared to existing 4G wireless technology that reach theoretical speeds of up to 21 Mbps.

“SaskTel’s copper infrastructure dates back to the 1960s and we are fast approaching the need to replace and upgrade this technology,” said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO. “With the positive partnership that has evolved with Huawei with our 4G network and our mobile LTE wireless deployment efforts that are underway, we are very pleased to partner with them to complete this trial.”

The trial is scheduled to be launched in rural locations in Saskatchewan by the end of December and will conclude in August 2013.

SaskTel generates $1.1 billion in annual revenue through1.4 million customer connections, including over 594,000 wireless accesses, 514,000 wireline network accesses, 234,000 internet accesses and 93,000 Max TV subscribers.

Huawei has operated in Canada since 2008, employing over 440 people in Canada.