BCE Inc.’s BCE-T26.300.250.96% Bell Canada and Telus Corp. T-T33.96-0.12-0.35% will begin selling the iPhone next month, breaking the stranglehold on the iconic device that rival Rogers Communications Inc. has held for more than a year.
The country’s two largest incumbent telecom companies, under pressure to re-ignite growth as new wireless competitors begin operations this year, are banking on Apple Inc.’s ground-breaking smart phone to help them sign up bigger-spending customers and shift the balance of power in Canada’s mobile market.
Bell announced Monday that it will launch national service in November on the $1-billion next-generation wireless network it has been building with Telus, months ahead of schedule. The project extends the two companies’ existing third-generation 3G networks to include the same technology standard employed by Rogers, the nation’s largest cellphone company.
Until now, Rogers has enjoyed a Canadian monopoly on that standard – and with it, one of the hottest products of the mobile age.
The iPhone has helped drive Rogers’ wireless growth through the recession by 7 per cent this year. Rogers has said its iPhone customers spend 11/2 times more than its average wireless subscriber.