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Second carrier in Canada starts LTE service

Canada's biggest phone company has launched LTE wireless data service five cities, including the nation's largest municipality.

Bell Canada began commercial LTE service in Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph on Wednesday, offering data sticks with service starting at $45 a month for 1.5 GB of data.LTE-enabled smartphones and tablets will be available later, the carrier added.

In launching today, Bell beat cableco Rogers Communications to commercial service in Toronto.

That won't start for another seven days. However, Rogers was the first to launch LTE service in Canada two months ago in Ottawa, the national captial. Telus Corp., the Western-Canadian based phone company which also has a national wireless network, says its LTE service will debut next year.

Bell and Rogers have promised to expand their LTE coverage to the country's biggest cities over the next year. However, they say offering the latest wireless technology in rural communities on the rules the federal government sets for the upcoming 700 Mhz spectrum auction. If the rules are too restrictive and prevent them from getting much of that spectrum, they warn, LTE will be reserved for urban areas.

On the other hand, three wireless carriers who have started service in the past two years say the big incumbent wireless carriers should either be restricted or forbidden from bidding on 700 Mhz spectrum because they have so much of the wireless market.

Combined Bell, Rogers and Telus have roughly 90 per cent of subscribers.

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