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So hypothetically a phone with WCDMA 850 should be able to get 3G speed with Belus?
Only in areas where Bell/Telus uses 850. In some areas they use 1900, and in some they use both. So you'll get partial coverage, and the only reliable way to know where is to test.

I'm just wondering what the difference is if it specifies HSPA+. Wikipedia kind of confused me because it lists Telus as having an HSPA+ network and nothing about WCDMA. After spending way too long reading about this, my understanding is now that WCDMA is the network and HSPA+ is the technology to make it faster?
Not quite. HSPA+ is a faster version of HSPA, which is a set of protocols (specifically HSDPA and HSUPA). WCDMA is an air interface standard. They refer to different things, but the differences are highly technical and, for your purposes, 100% inconsequential. When it comes to determining frequencies for network compatibility, you should treat HSPA, UMTS, and WCDMA as interchangeable terms.

I don't know how accurate this is but according to Loxcel all the towers in my area for Telus are 850's.
That is based on Industry Canada's Spectrum Direct database, which in my experience is absolutely not reliable. Don't count on that being accurate.

It would appear the Nexus 5 also supports the 2G CDMA that Bell & Telus use.
That version supports the technology, but is missing the 850 frequency required for Bell/Telus, and its CDMA radio can only be activated on the Sprint network in the US. You may not have that variant though; there is both a US variant (with CDMA) and an international variant (without CDMA). I don't know which one Google sells to Canada.
 

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That list shows 800 MHz CDMA, which I assume is 850 MHz. I've often seen both numbers used to refer to that band. It certainly isn't the 900 MHz used in Europe and elsewhere. Given the similarities with U.S. bands and the difference with those elsewhere, why would they not sell the North American version in Canada which, last I heard, is part of North America.
 

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800 is not 850. 800 is ESMR, band 10 on the CDMA2000 frequency bands. Sprint uses 800/1900 for their CDMA2000 network. As far as I know, they are the only wireless carrier in the world to use that particular combination.

Both the LG D820 and the D821 have all the required HSPA bands for North America, the difference is in the LTE bands, and the fact that only the D820 has CDMA2000. I checked my Nexus 5, and it does appear that Google is selling the D820 in Canada as well. Since we cannot use the CDMA2000 radio in Canada, if the D821 was able to support more LTE bands as a result of removing the CDMA2000 radio, it would be to our benefit to have that model instead. However, that does not appear to be the case; it looks like the two variants have different LTE support, and the D820's bands make more sense for Canada.
 

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^^^^
I have checked this on several sites. Google says the Nexus 5 supports CDMA class 0, 1 and 10. According to sites, such as this one, Class 0 is 824 to 890 MHz which are, IIRC, the frequencies used by Bell & Telus for CDMA. Class 10 is ESMR and class 1 is the 1.9 GHz PCS band. So, the Nexus 5 supports all three and can provide full function on Bell & Telus, as well as Rogers. Next question is how well it will fare after the 700 MHz auction. According to Google, it supports 700 MHz too. Incidentally, according to this article, Bell & Telus are offering GSM now
 

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I have checked this on several sites. Google says the Nexus 5 supports CDMA class 0, 1 and 10.
If that's correct, then the Nexus 5 does have the right frequency bands for Bell/Telus/Verizon CDMA2000. I was going on the list you provided earlier.

So, the Nexus 5 supports all three and can provide full function on Bell & Telus, as well as Rogers.
It can in theory, but Bell and Telus would have to be willing to activate it on their CDMA networks, which they are absolutely not. Unlike GSM and HSPA, you can't just pop in a SIM and start using it.

Next question is how well it will fare after the 700 MHz auction. According to Google, it supports 700 MHz too.
Keep in mind that there are multiple frequency bands named 700. The Nexus 5 supports AT&T's 700 frequency band, but not Verizon's. Only two Canadian carriers can end up with AT&T's band in any region, while two others can have Verizon, so at least one of Bell, Rogers, and Telus will end up with a 700 band not compatible with the Nexus 5.

Incidentally, according to this article, Bell & Telus are offering GSM now
That's flat out wrong. Confusion like that happened a lot in the early days of the Bell/Telus network because people would associate GSM with any cell network that used SIM cards, and HSPA as an overlay on existing GSM networks, rather than individual networks of their own. At the time, I believe there were no North American networks that had HSPA but not GSM, and American sites like that weren't as close to the situation or paying as much attention.
 

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^^^^
Actually, I contacted the guy who runs "Steve Punter's Southern Ontario
Cell Phone Page" and asked about that. His response was:

"They switched to GSM over 3 years ago. They first implemented HSPA, and then they launched LTE almost 2 years ago. They both still run a CDMA network, but they haven't been selling new CDMA phones or plans for years now. They plan to shutdown the old CDMA network in the near future."


As for 700 MHz, I'm on Rogers and they like their customers to roam on AT&T, though some other carrier (I've forgotten who) was also available, when I was in Missouri 2 years ago. So, I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to get the B or C bands, as AT&T uses.
 

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He's confused about what GSM actually is. It's a specific network technology, which predates HSPA. Like I said, some people think (even to this day) that anything that uses a SIM card is GSM.

Bell and Telus also use AT&T for roaming, as (I believe) do SaskTel and MTS. Videotron has a new network sharing agreement with Rogers that would make it highly preferable for them to share a frequency band. Not to mention that phones made for AT&T have support for the HSPA frequencies those carriers use, unlike phones made for Verizon. Every carrier will value AT&T's blocks over Verizon's. The question is, how much do they each value them at?
 

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^^^^
One thing both he and that article pointed out was that it was necessary for them to have GSM to offer the iPhone, which does not support the CDMA network.

If you think he's confused, then perhaps you'd better visit his site, to see what he's been doing for the past several years.

Perhaps I'll run a test some day. I have an old Motorola V180 GSM phone, which I used on Rogers. If I get around to it, I'll try unlocking it and putting a Bell SIM in to see what happens.
 

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That is not true. Every iPhone since the iPhone 3G has had UMTS/HSPA support. The original iPhone won't work on the Bell/Telus network and never did.

I'm well aware of his site. I'm also well aware that there's a lot he doesn't know. Apparently, one of those things is the difference between GSM and HSPA.

You don't even need to unlock it. Bell can check by IMEI and tell you if your phone will work. You can try it here. As they say on that page, it must have HSPA or UMTS compatibility. Or try Telus, here. Koodo and Virgin have the same tools as well. My Sony Ericsson TM506, when I just checked, is not compatible. It does work with Rogers on GSM, however.
 

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^^^^
I've been doing a bit more searching and there's a lot of confusion on this issue. I think the problem lies in Bell calling it "GSM", when it's clearly not what's normally considered GSM. I'm aware that UMTS uses the GSM CODEC and may be considered an extension of GSM, but calling it GSM because of that is a bit of a stretch.
 

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SIMPLE MAN'S METHOD

GSM or EDGE = 2G = Rogers ONLY
HPSA = 3G = Bell/Telus/Rogers and their subsidiaries
LTE = 4G = Bell/Telus/Rogers and their subsidiaries

Your phone has to handle the 850MHz and/or 1900MHz frequency for HPSA or LTE to work on Bell/Telus. If only the 2G works on that frequency, you are SOL.
 

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850 AND 1900 (only one will result in major holes in coverage). Also, the frequencies for LTE support are different from HSPA. Otherwise that pretty much covers it, if we ignore the many regional providers in Canada. For the purposes of this thread, a phone must support 850 and 1900 on UMTS or HSPA.
 

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Discussion Starter #117
.. And just to clear up any more confusion, here's what happens when I enable 2G Only on my Nexus 5 (on Koodo). :) No service.

 

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Hi I joined this forum because I'm having real difficulty finding out what I need to know in order to buy a dual sim phone which will work with a UK and Canadian SIM card. My daughter and I each use one at the moment: A Star W007 which is quad band and HSPDA 850/2100. We each have a Virgin Mobile Canada SIM (Bell) and a Virgin Mobile UK SIM (T-Mobile). We've never been able to send MMS messages although the phones/SIMs have worked for texting/calls (not international calls) etc. We need to buy new dual Sim phones now as my daughter's is almost finished from overuse. I looked at the BLU Life One and I think it would be okay (it has these specs):

2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100

but I sometimes see that people say they can't use BLU with Virgin Canada due to CDMA or is it a problem with BLU? I also wondered about the BLU Studio 5.0 which is cheaper.

What type of phones would be good? So long as the 3G frequency is given (is that 850 / 1900 in Canada and 2100 in the UK) am I good to go?? Don't want to make a mistake and spend $$hundreds and find the phones don't work, especially if I have to get them from, say, the US ...

I suppose I'd like to know why the Star W007 did work here in Canada (3G 850??) but if getting a phone with all three 3G frequencies 850 /1900 /2100 would do the trick.

Thank you very much if someone can answer this. I've telephoned and emailed phone sellers and networks and everyone gives conflicting answers.

Snowy2
 

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You need a phone that supports HSPA 1900/850.

Your current phone works because the majority of HSPA towers on virgin operate in the 850 frequency.
 

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Discussion Starter #120
The phone you are considering should work fine on Virgin Mobile Canada, since it supports both the 850MHz & 1900MHz HSPA bands. While their old network was CDMA based, they're now using HSPA (which is why your old phone worked as well).

As for those who claim it only works on Rogers, that does not make any sense unless they are in an area where Bell/Telus don't have HSPA service. For HSPA service, Rogers uses the same 850/1900MHz frequencies as Bell & Telus do, so as long as you are using the right APN and make sure the phone is set to "3G" it should work fine.

UPDATE: OK, I've seen this comment for other Blu phones as well, and I'm starting to wonder if it is indeed something with the baseband (radio) software they're using. I'm going out on a limb here, but the only thing I can think of is that it has an issue with Telus/Bell not actually having any 2G (GPRS/EDGE) support. Maybe see if you can contact Blu themselves first to see what they have to say on the matter.
 
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