As reported in my entry about the Desbarats tower last month the site was indeed commissioned as planned on 23 Dec 10. However, over the holiday period, locals continued to tell me that this was not the case. It seemed the only things working were the warning lights. I was not able to get clarification until my contacts (at least the ones I have faith in) returned to work after New Years.
My contact told me he was seeing both voice and data traffic at the new site. After a few back and forth messages, the light went on; he kept identifying it as HSPA voice and data traffic so I asked what was now the blindingly obvious question: – Is the new site both CDMA and HSPA compatible?
The answer is no it isn’t – it is 3G HSPA only. An older type of Bell or Telus phone cannot get service off the tower. A new Smartphone, Turbo stick or Turbo hub is required.
Thus to access (or see) the new Desbarats tower, you will need a HSPA phone or a dual mode Bell HSPA/CDMA phone. If you cannot get a signal from the tower then you are likely using a CDMA (also called 2G or 2.5G) only phone. As far as I know the data hubs sold by Bell work in the HSPA mode and should see the tower. However be careful if you buy a used data stick as there are CDMA only models in circulation.
I suspect that this policy of HSPA sites only will apply to any future Bell sites activated.