Monday 9 June 2014

Tbaytel Closing Down Its CDMA Service

Tbaytel has announced that it is closing down its CDMA service starting on 01 Jun 2014. This  action will also affect Bell and affiliated service providers as they use the Tbaytel CDMA network  to provide coverage in the affected areas.  

This action is part of the wrap-up of the CDMA technology across Canada. Telus announced previously that it started to shut down CDMA in March of this year. Bell has not commissioned any new CDMA sits for a number of years and announced they will phase out CDMA completely by 2017.  All new Bell sites are HSPA and/or LTE. 

This is the notification from the Tbaytel website:
"CDMA Mobility Network Decommissioning - Sunday, June 1st
On Sunday, June 1st Tbaytel will begin turning down select CDMA sites. As sites are turned down throughout the year, CDMA customers will begin to notice degradation of service. By December 2014, all CDMA sites will be shut down and Tbaytel will no longer offer CDMA service.  
As part of this end-of-life process, EVDO data services will be shut down on June 1st, 2014. Customers using EVDO data services will notice reduced data speed and will only have access to 1X data services.
CDMA customers can visit an Authorized Tbaytel Dealer to transition over to Tbaytel's 4G HSPA Network and enjoy the many benefits of 4G service." 


  1. How will Bell provide cellular service from the Searchmont and other former 2G CDMA tower sites now?

    1. I haven’t a clue. The CDMA network was part of an original agreement between Superior Wireless Inc. (SWI) and Bell. It also involved some spectrum swapping which explains why Bell does not have any 850 MHz spectrum in the Hwy 17 corridor from SSM to Thunder Bay. Tbaytel assumed the CDMA network sharing agreement when they took over SWI in 2006.

      The only sites in the North Sault area without parallel Bell coverage are Bellevue and Searchmont. The new Deferral Account sites backstops some of the Bellevue coverage area but there will be Bell coverage along the Searchmont highway (Hwy 556.)

      Searchmont will be left without Bell coverage unless Bell adds a new site or collocates hardware at the Tbaytel Searchmont site. The problem is there is probably not enough business originating in the Searchmont area for about 8 months of year. The original SWI was subsidized by FedNor and NOHFC, options which may not be available to Bell.

      Bell would also need to establish a backhaul network to get a site operational in Searchmont.

      There are other locales in the Algoma District that will be without Bell coverage as well; amongst them - Hwy 101 corridor, Hawk Junction, Dubreuilville, White River and Montreal River Harbour.

      The numbers I saw about 6 months ago showed there were still slightly less than 1 million CDMA users in Canada spread over all the service providers.

  2. GM recently sent a letter out informing customers that the CDMA shutdown would impact their OnStar services (I have a 2009 that is affected). I suspect this might mean a hardware upgrade in the vehicle, no idea what it will cost, but just an FYI that there are impacts beyond just cell phones.

    1. I suspect there are also some home security networks and personal safety alarms affected by the shutdowns.