enhanced specialized mobile radio
In 2002, the Microcell Telecom service provider found itself in debts. There were some mistakes that the company had made, as Dvai Ghose, a telecom analyst with CIBC World Markets, says. First, Ghose says the company embraced a business model that was more appropriate in the European context. Microcell was the first to choose its standard, when it picked GSM (Bell and Telus chose CDMA shortly after). The GSM popularity in North America was less certain, when Microcell selected it in the mid 90s. In the U.S. CDMA (code division multiple access) was the standard. Microcell chose the European way, not the North American way; it led the company to debts. In November, 2004, the Microcell Telecom service provider was bought out by a competing GSM carrier, Rogers Wireless, for an estimated one point four billion dollars.
Today, Microcell Telecommunications Inc. offers wireless voice and data services and provides a wireless service to approximately one million subscribers. The Microcell's PCS (personal communications services) division includes Microcell Connexions, Inc., which is a GSM operator and Microcell Solutions, Inc., a national provider of PCS under the Fido brand name. It was one of the first companies that enhanced a specialized mobile radio.
The Canadian four name-brand companies, which among them have over twelve million cellular subscribers, are:
· Bell Canada, the highly diversified incumbent telco in Ontario and Quebec;
· Telus Mobility, the cellular subsidiary of Telus Corp., incumbent telco in the western provinces of British Columbia and Alberta;
· Rogers AT&T Wireless, a joint venture between AT&T Wireless and Rogers Communications Inc., a major Canadian cable TV provider;
· The Microcell Telecom service provider, which operates the GSM-based Fido cellular service and also offers wireless network services to regional cellular carriers.
All of these companies have mobile networks with national footprints.
In 2002, Bell took an innovative step, when it launched the AccessZone service on VIA Rail trains, running between Toronto and Montreal. AccessZone is still a limited hotspot roll-out. The company started with about twenty fixed sites in hotels, airports and municipal buildings.
Spotnik Mobile, which has over sixty sites, mostly in Toronto, all in Ontario, mainly in coffee shops and hotels, is invested by Telus Mobility.
Rogers and the Microcell Telecom service provider so far have no involvement in the hotspot market.
In 2003, these four major cellular carriers agreed to work out details on a Wi-Fi hotspot roaming arrangement that would allow the users of one company's hotspots easily to use the others' hotspots as well. Though it was not a global first (a group of mobile carriers in France announced a similar initiative before), it brought its results.
"We think that if you get four carriers to agree to something that is simple for users and relatively uniform, it will make it easier for enterprise users to adopt Wi-Fi," says Peter Barnes, the president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecom Association (CWTA), the industry group that brought the four carriers together.