BGR sits down with WIND CEO Ken Campbell

By on October 31, 2009 at 1:19 PM.

BGR sits down with WIND CEO Ken Campbell

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Canadians have long craved for a new wireless carrier to bust onto the scene and break up what is often described as the anti-competitive practices of incumbents Bell, Rogers and TELUS (aka “The Big Three”). Following Industry Canada’s 2008 auction of Advanced Wireless Services, the majority of hope was placed in a swaggering upstart which recently announced it would operate under the WIND brand name. But this Thursday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission informed WIND that it that it couldn’t go live with its HSPA network. The reasoning behind the CRTC’s decision was that if felt WIND’s parent company, Globalive Wireless, did not meet the criteria set forth in the Telecommunications Act which stipulates all carriers must be majority owned and controlled by Canadians. To meet these requirements, at least 80% of the board of directors and voting shares must be controlled by Canadians and the company cannot be “otherwise controlled by persons that are not Canadian.” What the CRTC found was that Oracsom, Globalive’s Egyptian financiers, controlled 65.1% of WINDs equity, the Canadian rights to the WIND brand, carried the majority of the company’s debt and that liquidity rights were “inconsistent with the relative voting interests of the shareholders.” The situation is complex, but all is not lost for WIND. With this in mind, we sat down with WIND’s CEO Ken Campbell and asked him what the future holds.

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TELUS to launch HSPA network, iPhone 3G/3GS on November 5th

By on October 26, 2009 at 6:08 AM.

TELUS to launch HSPA network, iPhone 3G/3GS on November 5th

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We just got an an email from one of our connects and we’ve got some great new for all you iPhone-lovers. We’ve been told in just a couple hours, Canada’s TELUS will officially announce that its nation-wide HSPA network will go live on November 5th. Not only that, but on that very date, TELUS will start selling the Apple iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The iPhone pricing structure for TELUS will be the same as it is for Rogers (and Bell, for that matter) with the 3G going for $99.99/$599.99 and the 16 and 32GB 3GS going for $199.99/$699.99 and $299.99/$799.99. Beyond that, TELUS doesn’t appear to be in any rush to come forward with specifics on its plan pricing and other handsets. All the presses hints at is “TELUS will offer a number of exciting new devices from HTC, Huawei, LG, Nokia, RIM, Samsung, and Sierra Wireless in time for the holidays, including some on an exclusive basis.” That’s more or less in line with the line-up we’ve already told you.

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BlackBerry OS 5.0 to be released for existing devices starting this week?

By on October 24, 2009 at 3:25 PM.

BlackBerry OS 5.0 to be released for existing devices starting this week?

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While the launch of the BlackBerry Storm2 on Verizon is widely expected to take place on October 28th and the Bold 9700 is so close we can almost taste it, owners of current generation BlackBerry smartphones  — the Pearl Flip 8220/8230, Curve 8330/8350i/8900, Bold 9000, Storm 9500/9530 and Tour 9630 — should be pleased to note that RIM is all set for the launch OS 5.0. Specific dates aren’t easily pinned down as it more or less depends on the device one has and the carrier one is with, but thanks to our connects we know, for example, that Verizon will be dropping for the OS 5.0 for the Storm 9530 tomorrow evening with a fall back date set for Monday. Those that don’t have Desktop Manager set up on either their PC or Mac might want to get everything ready ahead of time as it looks for the most part that OTA software updates will not be made available. Oh well. OS 5.0 is oh so worth the hassle.

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Project Dark confirmed to include unlimited plans, FlexPay

By on October 17, 2009 at 8:32 PM.

Project Dark confirmed to include unlimited plans, FlexPay

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Remember what we said about T-Mobile’s Project Dark this morning? Well, as is the typical BGR fashion, our word essentially turned into gold as one of our T-Mobile connects just hit us up with a ton of Project Dark documents. While we’re still waiting on information when it comes to handsets and the rapid expansion of its AWS 3G network, Project Dark does indeed included unlimited services, although things like data and texts look as if they come in the form of add-ons. The Even More and Even More Plus plans we talked about are also real. Even More does require a 2-year contract commitment which allows for handset subsidies, whereas Even More Plus plans does not require a contract and does not include subsidies. However, that’s where the new FlexPay system comes into play, and boy is this going to be big. Customers will be able to walk away with the handset of their dreams and pay for it in monthly installments just like they would for that big leather couch they can’t really afford but really, really want. Goodies are after the jump.

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Verizon employees see the Motorola Sholes and Calgary emerge in internal tools?

By on October 13, 2009 at 7:54 AM.

Verizon employees see the Motorola Sholes and Calgary emerge in internal tools?

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Okay, this one might be a bit of a difficult thing for some people to accept considering it involves something that few people know about, but we’re going to throw caution to the wind and run wild with it. At pretty much every single Verizon retail outlet they have these little gizmos known as “Cellebrites”. These Cellebrites are used by Verizon employees to transfer customers data from phone to phone. And gee whiz, would you guess what two devices have popped up in the latest update for the Cellebrite? If you guessed the Motorola A855 Sholes/Shules/Droid/Tao and the Calgary A555, you’d be bang on. Mmm hmm. And of course you know what this means, right? Yes indeed, we might soon be treated to some official details of the already accidentally/on-purpose leaked devices. Hit the jump or some more pics of the now celebrated Cellebrite.

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Bell to get the BlackBerry Bold 9000 in black, Rogers in white

By on October 11, 2009 at 7:53 PM.

Bell to get the BlackBerry Bold 9000 in black, Rogers in white

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Even though we here at BGR think that the BlackBerry Bold 9000 is so Summer/Fall 2008 (and even that’s one hell of a stretch considering it was announced that May), it seems that RIM and its partner carriers don’t. Best Buy Canada’s internal inventory system shows that both Bell and Rogers still have plans for the 3G device even though the new hotness is but a few weeks away. From Bell we have the Bold 9000, a rather strange offering considering that it is going to be selling the BlackBerry 9700. Still, we must concede that it makes a bit of sense in that Bell can offer up the 9000 as its mid-end BlackBerry while Rogers is already stuck with positioning EDGE-only devices like the Curve 8900 and Curve 8520 as its more affordable devices. Speaking of Rogers, it is going to be picking up the white BlackBerry Bold — the very same one we’ve been going on about for months — although we’re not entirely clear when it will go on sale. That is to say we don’t know if, just like AT&T, the white Bold will be released to select markets on the 18th of this month. If you’d like to relish in what is surely straight up BlackBerry Bold fire, larger screenshots after the breakage.

Thanks, REMS!

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Bell will unlock clients HSPA phones after 30 days

By on October 10, 2009 at 8:27 AM.

Bell will unlock clients HSPA phones after 30 days

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As if there weren’t already enough reasons to get excited for the arrival of Bell’s HSPA network and the amazing handsets that it will bring with it, one of our Bell connects stepped up to the mound and delivered us this slider of a tip. It seems that Bell is really serious about having its customers love them, because it is going to issue unlock codes for its branded devices. Of course caveats apply, but they’re not all that out of the ordinary: your account must be active for at least one month, only phones purchased from Bell need apply, you won’t be able to ditch your contract, and you will be charged a fee. We’re not exactly clear on what the feel will be, but we’ve heard it might be as high as $250 dollars per handset. Obviously the cost of the official unlock doesn’t even begin to compete with third-party unlockers, but at least it will keep your warranty in tact. And no, we’re awfully sorry, but we’re not 100% sure Bell will unlock your iPhone. Hit the jump for a larger pic.

P.S. Yes, we did notice that it looks like Bell will be carrying an HSPA-flavored Omnia II.

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T-Mobile’s Rumored Project Dark: handsets and rapid network expansion? [UPDATED]

By on October 9, 2009 at 2:34 PM.

T-Mobile’s Rumored Project Dark: handsets and rapid network expansion? [UPDATED]

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There’s a lot of buzz surrounding T-Mobile secret project, “Project Dark” or “Project Black” as others have referred to it. One of our connects hit us up to clarify what it exactly is (they called it Project Dark).

So, what is it exactly? Other sites have speculated that it’s not a new phone or promotion, but our connects briefing has given us a pretty clear understanding. First off, it is tied somewhat to handsets. Project Dark contains the launch of the T-Mobile BlackBerry 9700 as well as T-Mobile’s upcoming Android handsets like the Motorola CLIQ and Samsung Behold II. It also contains a very, very rapid expansion of T-Mobile’s 3G network, and we don’t mean UMTS. We’re talking 21Mbps HSPA, the same as what just launched in the Philadelphia market. We’ll keep digging but this is what we’ve got for you for now.

UPDATE: A few minutes after we first posted this story, a new T-Mobile connect came out of nowhere and sent us in quite a lot of new information. We have to caution that this information is not substantiated, but we feel that we owe it to our readers to share. Here it goes…

Project Dark is a pretty big thing for T-Mobile. Not only will employees be wearing new threads consisting of a black top and grey pants while they sell the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and two Nokia Nseries devices (the N900 and something else), but they’ll also be pushing something pretty amazing — a $50 all you can eat plan that includes voice, SMS, MMS and data. Apparently this plan will be called “Everything Unlimited” and is meant to represent T-Mobile’s new strategy which will essentially see it try and poach subs from various low-cost carriers. We’ve also been told that T-Mobile will be adopting a very Walmart slogan of “More for Less.” Okay, we’ve done our part, now what do you people think about this?

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TELUS’ initial HSPA offering to be smartphone rich

By on October 9, 2009 at 10:40 AM.

TELUS’ initial HSPA offering to be smartphone rich

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With employee HSPA training well under way, one of our TELUS connects hit us up late last night to let us know just what smartphone hungry Canadians can expect once its HSPA network overlay goes live next month. Apart from the obvious ones – iPhone 3G and 3GS — TELUS will be dishing out the BlackBerry Bold 9700, LG Chocolate BL40 and the Nokia E71 (odd, we know). Road warriors should also note that TELUS will be offering the Sierra Wireless 306 USB data stick which is capable of taking full advantage of TELUS’ 21Mbps HSPA network. Okay, fine, rumors about many of these devices coming to TELUS aren’t exactly new, but we’re the first to be able to confirm this 100%. Just one more thing…. We’ve been told that the HTC Hero is definitely in TELUS’ play book and it’s going to be the GSM/HSPA variant.

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BlackBerry Storm 9550 flyer for Verizon touts the benefits of BES 5.0

By on October 7, 2009 at 10:57 PM.

BlackBerry Storm 9550 flyer for Verizon touts the benefits of BES 5.0

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Need more proof that Verizon is on the cusp of releasing the BlackBerry Storm 9550? If so, you might want to check out this BES 5.0 flyer that one of our BlackBerry connects just sent us. Aimed towards corporate folks, the flyer lists what a glorious and indispensable business tool the still-unannounced BlackBerry 9550 is when running on BES 5.0. You know, good stuff like follow-up flags, advanced folder management, calendar appointment forwarding, wireless contact sync, document editing with DocumentsToGo and remote file sharing with the Files app. Yes friends, this is hotness personified. Hit the jump for a larger pic!

Thanks, PatBeats!

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BlackBerry 8530, BlackBerry 9700 show up in Bell’s systems

By on October 2, 2009 at 3:25 PM.

BlackBerry 8530, BlackBerry 9700 show up in Bell’s systems

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Love your Bell service in Canada? Don’t really want to spring for a brand new BlackBerry Tour? Well, it seems as if Bell is gearing up to launch the BlackBerry 8530 pretty soon. Full retail price is showing up at $499 without a service agreement, but don’t let that scare you off too much — it should be pretty reasonable once a contract is factored in. We also have shots of the BlackBerry 9700 making its way into Bell’s system meaning that it’s likely we’ll see Bell’s HSPA network overlay launch with it in tow. As always, hit the jump for some bigger and better shots.

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We’ve got the goods on some upcoming AT&T smartphones from HTC and Garmin-ASUS

By on September 20, 2009 at 9:46 AM.

We’ve got the goods on some upcoming AT&T smartphones from HTC and Garmin-ASUS

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While many of you spent last night watching grown men pummel one another into submission, we here at BGR put in some over time so we could get to the bottom of the pricing of some upcoming AT&T smartphones. And just as you would expect, we’ve come through. First off we have two HTC offerings, the Tilt2 (Touch Pro2) and Pure (Touch Diamond2). On contract and after applying $50 MIRs, we’ve heard the Tilt2 will be $299.99 while the Pure will go for $199.99. Off contract, you’re looking at $499.99 and $349.99 respectively. Second, we have the Garmin-ASUS nüvifone G60 which will finally ditch its North American vaporware status when it hits retail shelves with the 2-year price of $299.99 after a $100 MIR. Off contract, the G60 will command $549.99, a princely sum, indeed. Unfortunately we’ve not been able to confirm the AT&T Pure or nüvifone G60 release dates, but we do have a pretty accurate idea on the Tilt 2. Still, we’d expect to see all three of these devices before the end of October based upon the fact that this is when these prices are effective until.

UPDATE: We’ve just been sent a photo of the pricing for the AT&T Pure which shows it actually going for $149.99 with a two-year agreement.

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Rogers begins shipping Curve 8520 literature; launch to come sooner than we think?

By on September 16, 2009 at 5:18 PM.

Rogers begins shipping Curve 8520 literature; launch to come sooner than we think?

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In case anyone had doubts that Rogers is on the cusp of releasing the BlackBerry Curve 8520, Rogers dealerships across the country have just begun receiving literature for RIM’s latest low-cost QWERTY smartphone. No surprises were included with the official documentation, but the appearance of the literature so early indicates that Rogers might be planning to push out the 8520 ahead of schedule. If this is the case, it’s likely because Rogers doesn’t want to draw attention away from the Bold 9700, which still seems to be on track for a release before November.

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