Manitoba's MTS today announced today that it had it has begun work on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology planning, infrastructure development and internal system work with a goal of starting deployment in 2012.

The company, which has almost half a million wireless customers in the province, did not provide any specific timeframe for the first phase of the rollout or where it might take place.

LTE's primary advantage over MTS's HSPA+ current network will be speed. Existing wireless technology has a theoretical download speed of up to 21 Mbps versus theoretical download speeds of over 75 Mbps for LTE. Actual download speeds are typically about one-quarter or one-third of theoretical outputs so LTE users can expect to see speeds go from about 5 to 7 Mbps to 18 to 25 Mbps.

MTS customers should note that in order to take advantage of the faster speeds when it arrives they will need to buy all new LTE-enabled smartphones or LTE data sticks.

"LTE will further improve our customers' wireless service experience by providing increased data speeds, access to exciting new wireless devices and by increasing their ability to access converged multi-media services across MTS high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, and mobile wireless networks." said Kelvin Shepherd, President, MTS.

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