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Cellular Coverage

The cellular providers are quick to point out that they cover more than 80–90 percent of the population in North America. Although Europe and parts of Asia may actually cover 80–90 percent of the land mass, the coverage in the U.S. and Canada is limited to major urban centers, and varies by provider. The following paragraphs and figures look at coverage for my native province of Nova Scotia, Canada; this coverage is typical of or superior to coverage in most of North America.

The cellular providers in Nova Scotia consist of the following:

  • Bell-owned Maritime Telephone and Telegraph (MTT)
  • Rogers ATT
  • Telus Mobility

MTT has a CDPD network, accessed primarily by police and emergency workers, a packet-switched ARDIS network used by RIM Blackberry devices, and a CDMA network used by digital cell phones. Rogers ATT is supplementing its established TDMA cellular phone network with a 2.5G GSM/GPRS one; it also runs a packet-switched Mobitex network used by Blackberry devices. Telus Mobility has a PCS network that covers only the Halifax urban center. The older analog cell phone networks are still in use and provide wider coverage than the digital ones. MTT plans to introduce a 2.5G network by year-end 2002 as an interim step on the road to 3G.

Figure 3 shows the province-wide coverage of the CDMA, CDPD, TDMA, and GSM/GPRS networks. The emphasized areas indicate current digital coverage, and the lighter areas are either current analog coverage or show future expansion plans.

Figure 3Figure 3 General cellular network coverage in Nova Scotia.

Figure 4 shows the more limited coverage of the "always-connected" digital networks used by the Blackberry devices. Also shown is Telus Mobility's digital coverage, currently limited to the Halifax area (the remaining coverage is analog).

Figure 4Figure 4 Limited cellular network coverage in Nova Scotia.

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