As first reported in this blog entry, it is now confirmed Telus is taking the initial steps to decommission its CDMA network. Effective 31 March 2014, Telus will discontinue EV-DO data service on the CDMA network in all of BC and AB (excluding Edmonton and Calgary.) There is no news about the rest of Canada.
EV-DO stands for either Enhanced Voice-Data Optimized or Enhanced Voice-Data Only depending on the company using the abbreviation. The standard went through a number of revisions but was eventually overcome by the much faster HSPA and LTE protocols. EV-DO achieved theoretical download speeds starting at 2.4 Mbps, then 3.1 Mbps and finally 14.7 Mbps. A far cry from the 75 to 100 Mbps range claimed for LTE.
Telus is offering affected users in BC and AB outside Edmonton and Calgary an exchange deal to upgrade to HSPA hardware.
Telus is planning to completely shut down the remainder of their CDMA network at some unspecified date in 2015.
There is still no indication of what impact this action by Telus will have on the CDMA networks operated by Bell, Tbaytel or Public.
However, since Bell and Telus share their CDMA networks across the country, so it is hard to see how the decommissioning could not help but affect the Bell network.
There is also the question of whether or not the CRTC or Industry Canada (IC) will take any action in the matter. As noted, the new entrant Public relies on the CDMA networks to offer nationwide service. Without the ability to roam on the Bell and Telus networks, it seems doubtful if Public can survive. Only time will tell.