No, your Nokia E61i should not work on the Telus/Bell 3G (HPSA) network. A quick look at the specs http://www.gsmarena.com/nokia_e61i-1858.php show the phone's 3G mode is only UMTS 2100. As outlined in the first post of this thread, Bell/Telus require UMTS/HSPA 850MHz and/or 1900MHz.
In addition, your Nokia E61i will only work on 2G (GSM/EDGE) networks in Canada, as no one uses UMTS 2100 (its primarily a Europe/Asia/Africa standard). Bell/Telus do not operate a 2G network, although as you pointed out, Rogers does.
Actually, Bell and Telus have been calling their CDMA networks 3G since before their HSPA network was live. However, whether it's 3G or not isn't really relevant, as I would assume that he was referring to GSM/EDGE networks.
Also, as I'm sure you well know, like almost every GSM or HSPA device, the E61i will not work on the Bell or Telus CDMA networks, so they are irrelevant in this case, and not worth mentioning other than to confuse the issue.
I went through all the messages in this thread because I had my eye on a GSM-only phone and wanted to try it with my Bell SIM card. The phone would have been ideal for my use but I wanted to be sure it would work before buying one.
Two different Bell CSRs emphatically stated that "any GSM" phone would work on the Bell network.
I was doubtful - and sure enough when I put my SIM card in the phone it wasn't recognized.
I have a phone I was using on the Rogers network. It is a ZTE Blade II. All it got on the Rogers network was the EDGE connection. I have switched to KOODO (Telus) but I tried the old phone on the network today and couldn't get a signal from any tower except ROGERS. No bell, no telus, no koodo.
Will it work, or only intermittently or what?
Network Technology GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA
Band GSM 900/1800/1900 (Tri-Band) HSDPA 900/1900/2100
Are you at least in a 3G coverage zone? (in this case, I'm referring to HSPA+ coverage -- not CDMA). If not, the phone won't work at all, since Telus/Bell (and their sub-brands) don't support GSM/EDGE service.
Given that on Rogers you'd only see EDGE coverage, I'm guessing that you are in a rural area. In that case, I'm sure the carriers would be more likely to use the 850MHz frequency so that it can cover longer distances with fewer towers.