Saskatoon News October 13, 2011

SaskTel 4G Frustration in Saskatoon

Recently I posted a blog indicating that SaskTel will be upgrading 4G service in Saskatoon. In my opinion this cannot happen fast enough. It may just be me but it seems over the past 2 weeks the service has gone from bad to worse. As a Saskatoon real estate agent I rely very heavily on my smart phone (Blackberry) and also my iPad to conduct my day to day business. Both of these require 4G connectivity to be able to talk, text, and access the internet. As I mentioned in a previous blog SaskTel indicated that the uptake of 4G is 1000% higher than they had projected as well as all cell providers across North America. As a result most 4G networks are over-subscribed meaning slower performance. In Saskatoon specifically this means that many of us that have 4G capable phones are either dropping calls on a regular basis, at times not even able to make a call, not receiving or being able to send texts or emails, and of course have overall poor service and reliability. In the past 2 days I have dropped probably 25+ calls. Also in those 2 days I have went to call people and haven’t had my call go through probably 5 times due to the network being over capacity. Technology is great but I am almost willing to go back to an older phone of the SaskTel CDMA network until they get this resolved.

The big difference between 4G and CDMA technology (the two types of phone networks that SaskTel uses) is that CDMA uses separate channels for data and voice. This means that one cannot impact the other. With 4G technology they share the same connection so if a lot of people are downloading data it can impact other people’s ability to make phone calls. I know from friends that either work at SaskTel or do work with SaskTel they are looking at new technologies to get ahead of this. The heaviest usage periods in Saskatoon are in the evenings from around 7pm – 10pm which happens to be when I have been doing a lot of work the past few days. As a Saskatoon REALTOR® I am dependent on being able to be available to my clients when they need to reach me as well in turn be able to reach them as required. SaskTel is planning several upgrades across the city and some of those are supposed to be available by mid to late October. I am really hoping this is the case as the service I am receiving right now is frustrating to say the least. Feel free to share any of your 4G stories of late.

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Fusion