Friday 13 May 2011

Clarification of Pay-As-You-Go Availability

I wish to issue an apology and a clarification  to the blog on the new Heyden cell site.

The clarification concerns Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) phones. A PAYG will only work with the Tbaytel cell sites if the hardware is compatible with the Tbaytel network and Tbaytel has a roaming agreement with the PAYG service provider. 

If the hardware is compatible, there should be an indication of network connectivity i.e. some signal strength bars showing and dialling 611 will result in a recorded message from Tbaytel. The completion of normal phone calls will not be possible.


  1. Thanks for checking on that - I also inquired about getting a cell phone that does work north of the Sault, at one of the local wireless outlets, and was told by the staff there that according to a Rogers rep Rogers now owns Tbaytel, which owns the new towers currently being tested, and when they go live in June, Rogers cell phones will be working in the area, but Bell phones might not, as Rogers has no intention of supporting them - a reversal of the current setup. So they said best to wait and see what happens over the next few months before choosing a cell phone.

  2. This is a summary of the current cellular situation along Hwy 17 corridor from SSM to Thunder Bay and beyond including the North Sault area - towers and sites at Searchmont, Heyden, Bellevue, Goulais(Buttermilk), Batchawana and Ryan (Pancake Bay area).

    Roger does not own Tbaytel. The City of Thunder Bay owns Tbaytel in the same way the City of SSM owns the SSM PUC, which in turn owns PUC Telecom. Tbaytel has an agreement with Rogers to use the same 3G HSPA technology. Tbaytel is in the process of installing what I refer to as a "HSPA overlay" on top of the existing CDMA network. Already operating along parts of the network, they will complete the overlay in the North Sault area by this summer. I do agree that one may want to hold off until they complete all the work before committing to a service.

    When all the work is complete, this will be the North Sault situation for the near future:

    a. The 2/2.5G CDMA network which is operated and owned by Tbaytel and is compatible with Bell and Telus hardware but not Rogers hardware will remain in operation for a least 5 years in accordance to contract terms with federal and provincial funding agencies. If you currently have a Bell/Telus CDMA phone, it will continue to function in the same manner as it does today.

    b. Tbaytel will own and operate the 3G HSPA overlay .They have an interoperation agreement with Rogers to allow Tbaytel hardware to work on the Rogers network and vice versa. This network will not support Bell/Telus hardware i.e. a Bell or Telus smart phone, iPad, etc. will not work with the network.

    c. Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) service is not so clear-cut. I can personally confirm that Bell PAYG CDMA service currently works and I am told that Telus PAYG works. Many networks operators do not let allow PAYG roaming due to technical and financial reasons. Tbaytel indicated they will have a HSPA PAYG service available usable with Rogers sometime in the fall. They currently have CDMA PAYG service in the Thunder Bay area. See the Tbaytel website for details.

    d. Bell is still planning to install HSPA service in the Goulais area under the Deferral Account process in 2013.