© Scott Anderson
An information session was hosted in Swift Current on Aug. 20 to share details on SaskTel's newly launched 4G LTE wireless network.
Swift Current became the seventh Saskatchewan community to be upgraded to 4G LTE network when SaskTel introduced the new technology in late August.
A special introductory session was hosted at the Sky Centre on Aug. 20 to explain the advantages the new wireless network will provide to customers.
"It's the strongest, fastest, biggest network 4G LTE network, and it can offer data speeds sometimes five times faster than what was previously offered with 4G," explained Grant Garner, Marketing Manager - Wireless Network Management Marketing, who was one of the presenters at the network introduction event.
Swift Current was among the first cities in Saskatchewan to be upgraded to 4G LTE after Regina, Saskatoon, Weyburn, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton. Both North Battleford and Estevan were upgraded this past week.
SaskTel data notes that their existing 4G wireless technology reaches download speeds of up to 21 megabits per second (Mbps). The new 4G LTE technology offers download speeds of over 100 Mbps and 50 Mbps upload. 4G LTE phones are compatible with both networks – when outside 4G LTE coverage areas, the devices will always fall back to the 4G network.
"You have two networks that inter-operate together to provide our customers the best experience," Garner explained.
He also noted that as more devices are switched over to the 4G LTE network, it will benefit both networks, as with users split between the two networks it will create more usable bandwidth on both networks.
With SaskTel keep up-to-date with the most recent capabilities, Garner notes their customers have been keeping up with the benefits of the changes.
"What we've seen with our average users is the greater adoption and uptake of data devices and data applications," he said. "With the previous network, they would be able to stream video just fine, but now with LTE we see a pretensity from our customers to do video over HD, so they'll actually be able to do HD video a lot better on their smart phone."
During their presentation they shared that SaskTel customers can easily switch their 4G LTE devices over to the new network.
"With the exception of the latest iPhone, if you have a LTE capable devise, you will have to bring it into your local dealer or store, and get a LTE capable SIM card," he said, noting that they have a promotion running until the end of the year where customers with existing plans can get this switch done for free at authorized stores.
Earlier this summer SaskTel announced they were bringing faster internet services to 220 Saskatchewan communities by the end of 2014. This series of upgrades will double DSL service from five megabits per second (Mbps) to 10 Mbps for customers who want the upgrades. In the Southwest this faster services will be provided in: Abbey, Beechy, Burstall, Cabri, Chaplin, Climax, Consul, Eastend, Fox Valley, Gull Lake, Hazlet, Herbert, Kincaid, Kyle, Lafleche, Leader, Limerick, Maple Creek, Morse, Piapot, Ponteix, Prelate, Richmound, Tompkins, Vanguard, Waldeck and Wymark.