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Tuesday, 11-Jun-2019 — June SMS Snapshot Invalid for Bell & Freedom

Each month, ISED publishes a snapshot of their Spectrum Management System (SMS). We perform many quality checks on each snapshot, monitoring site and channel counts over time:

Graph of site counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Jul 2017 to Jun 2019 Graph of channel counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Jul 2017 to Jun 2019 Graph of site counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019 Graph of channel counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Jul 2017 to Jun 2019

Bell site and channel counts dropped 8% and 58%, respectively, which reduces their average channels per site ratio from 23.5 to 10.7. The 101,135 missing Bell channels include 28% of their 2500MHz channels, 95% of their 850MHz channels and a whopping 99% of their 1900MHz channels.

The issues with Freedom, identified last month remain. (The issues with Xplornet have been fixed.)

SaskTel site counts continue to decrease, from 1,114 in Jul 2017, to 943 in Aug 2017 and to 760 today. While at the same time, their channels per site ratio has climbed from 6.1 to 10.5 to 12.5. We don't believe this is an error.

SMS snapshots should never be used as-is. We fix SMS snapshots and supplement with proprietary and other 3rd party data to ensure Canada Cellular Services provides you with the most accurate representation of Canada's wireless landscape.

Monday, 10-Jun-2019 — Australia Spectrum Data Analysis

We also operate Australia Cellular Services for the Australian market, and use spectrum data published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). For comparison, we generated graphs for their cellular (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone) and broadband (NBN, Vivid) carriers:

Graph of site counts for Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, NBN and Vivid from Jun 2017 to May 2019 Graph of channel counts for Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, NBN and Vivid from Jun 2017 to May 2019

Friday, 31-May-2019 — Australia — Antenna Pattern & RRL Integration

Australia Cellular Services now includes an RRL Details column (see right) which lists each channel's ACMA device registration id. (PTS channels do not have a device registration id).

Click an id to visit its entry in the ACMA Register of Radiocommunications Licences (RRL) which provides a visual depiction of the channel's antenna pattern as well as

A very small number of antennas patterns (~ 1%) exaggerate the gain in the main lobe by ~ 40dB. We correct this error, so you might see a discrepancy between what we and RRL report for EIRP.

Please contact us if you have any questions about this new feature.

RRL Device Registration Identifiers
Channel view showing each channel's RRL device registration identifiers
RRL Antenna Patterns
RRL Antenna pattern showing direction and magnitude of main lobe    RRL Antenna pattern showing direction and magnitude of main lobe

Thursday, 30-May-2019 — Australia — 5G Coverage

Australia Cellular Services now includes all 408 Telstra 5G sites, with

Australia Cellular Services will be updated regularly to track the expansion of Telstra's 5G network.

And it will also be updated to include Optus' 5G network, which is expected mid-2019. Optus plans to deploy 1,200 5G sites by March 2020.

Telstra 5G Network
Australia map showing distribution of Telstra 5G sites

Wednesday, 29-May-2019 — Australia — DTV Coverage

Australia Cellular Services has added 702 digital TV (DTV) sites. Select DTV from the filter drop down (at the top of the map) and the map will show each DTV site as a small TV icon.

Information for each DTV transmitter includes antenna height, transmit frequency, omni antenna (Y or N), transmit power, polarization (horizontal or vertical), callsign and purpose. The channel number is part of the callsign (eg. ABC41 is channel 41). Values for purpose include Commercial, Retransmission, National, etc.

Digital TV Site 15km South of Canberra
Australia Digital TV channel list

Friday, 3-May-2019 — May SMS Snapshot Invalid for Freedom & Xplornet

Each month, ISED publishes a snapshot of their Spectrum Management System (SMS). We perform many quality checks on each snapshot, monitoring site and channel counts over time:

Graph of site counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Jun 2017 to Map 2019 Graph of channel counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019 Graph of site counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Jun 2017 to May 2019 Graph of channel counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019

The top-left graph shows a slight recovery in Rogers site counts from last month, although site counts remain below last November. The top-right graph shows a complete recovery in Rogers channel counts, but a small drop for Telus (14,915 channels or 280GHz of bandwidth).

The two bottom graphs show a precipitous drop in Freedom site and channel counts.

The May 2019 SMS snapshot also saw an unexpected drop in site counts for dozens of broadband or WISP carriers including Xplornet, whose site count dropped by more than half, from 1,673 to 747.

SMS snapshots should never be used as-is. We fix SMS snapshots and supplement with proprietary and other 3rd party data to ensure Canada Cellular Services provides you with the most accurate representation of Canada's wireless landscape.

Friday, 5-Apr-2019 — April SMS Snapshot Invalid for Rogers

Last month saw Rogers "disappear" from the Quebec market. For this month, the right graph shows Rogers continuing this trend on a national scale, with a 45% drop in channel counts:

Graph of site counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from May 2017 to Apr 2019 Graph of channel counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from May 2017 to Apr 2019

SMS snapshots should never be used as-is. We fix SMS snapshots and supplement with proprietary and other 3rd party data to ensure Canada Cellular Services provides you with the most accurate representation of Canada's wireless landscape.

Friday, 22-Mar-2019 — Clearing a Path For WISPs

Canada, Australia and New Zealand Cellular Services now include Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP), as shown at the right. This is in addition to the cellular providers these services have always provided.

WISP is popular in rural areas or where population density is too low to economically support cable, DSL or FTTx broadband service. Plans from larger Canadian WISP providers cost $100 / month and provide a multi-hundred gigabyte cap with 25 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up.

We have another subscription plan (please contact us for details) that includes all Canadian WISPs registered with ISED, including ABC Comm., Birch Hill, Maskatel, TeraGo, Silo Wireless, Seaside, WireIE, PRiS, SSI Micro, Groupe Acces, Suncor Energy, BSurfer, Point To Point, CanWAN, NETAGO, CCL, Execulink, Murphy Oil, BCN, Nexicom, DoubleF, EION, AireNet, Kingston Online, Internexe, I Want Wireless, CORE Broadband, NorthWind, Coop Pierre-de Saurel, Thomas Comm., Comcentric, Andrews Wireless, RECNS, Imperial Oil, High Speed Crow, Vecima, ICAWireless, Columbia Wireless, Askivision, Navigata, Maskoutain, Mightypeace, Morad Comm., Cable Amos, Slave Lake, Syban, Rural Wave, CommStream, Storm, Beacon Broadband, Chatham, Targo, ONDEnet, FlexiNET, Voom Internet, KWIC, 3CIS, CCI Net, North Nova Cable, Vincent Comm., Signal Direct, Missing Link Internet, Comm. Charlevoix, Megawire, Tough Country, Cascade Divide, VISP, IASL, Stafford Comm., WTCComm, Petron, Redbird, Telesignal, Rionet Wireless, WiBand, Cardinal Telecom, Frontier Wireless, AlbertaCom, Sniper Comm., Swift Internet, OmniTEC, GoZoom, GPNetworks, LyttonNet and IGS Hawkesbury.

Canadian WISPs
WISP options in Canada Cellular Services filter
Australian WISPs
WISP options in Australia Cellular Services filter
New Zealand WISPs
WISP options in New Zealand Cellular Services filter

Thursday, 14-Mar-2019 — Submission of Technical Information

Canada's 600MHz auction is now underway. Conditions outlined in Technical, Policy and Licensing Framework for Spectrum in the 600 MHz Band (pdf) will require licensees to

provide, and maintain, up-to-date technical information on a particular station or network in accordance with the definitions, criteria, frequency and timelines specified in Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-1-23, Licensing Procedure for Spectrum Licences for Terrestrial Services (pdf).

Section 5.11 Submission of Technical Information from CPC-2-1-23 states

Industry Canada requires technical information associated with radiocommunication installations covered by the spectrum licence in order to carry out certain spectrum management responsibilities. To provide this capability, Industry Canada requires information in order to maintain an up-to-date technical database of radiocommunication installations.

Typically, licensees will be required to submit this data to Industry Canada on a monthly basis or as otherwise required, as well as prior to the operation of each new radiocommunication installation. When an existing radiocommunication installation is modified such that the associated data elements are amended, the licensee must also provide Industry Canada with the updated technical information.

Conditions outlined in Licensing Framework for Residual Spectrum Licences in the 700 MHz and AWS-3 Bands, from 2015, also require licensees to submit technical information prior to the operation of their AWS-3 installation. Yet, as mentioned last month, this technical information arrived 27 months after Freedom began operation of their AWS-3 installation.

Wednesday, 6-Mar-2019 — March SMS Snapshot Invalid for Rogers

Each month, ISED publishes a snapshot of their Spectrum Management System (SMS). We perform many quality checks on each snapshot, monitoring site and channel counts over time:

Graph of site counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019 Graph of channel counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019 Graph of site counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019 Graph of channel counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Apr 2017 to Mar 2019

The top-left graph shows a precipitous drop in Rogers and Bell site counts in Dec 2018 and Jan 2019, respectively. Bell site counts rebounded this month, but Rogers have not.

Most of Roger's "missing" sites are in Quebec. Is Rogers leaving Quebec? This recent news release suggests otherwise:

Today [Feb. 05, 2019], Rogers announced that it is improving wireless service in seven cities in Quebec, including Gatineau, Boischatel, Quebec City, Montreal, St-Eustache, Blainville and Terrebonne. Rogers and Fido customers in these areas will have a faster, more reliable and consistent wireless experience than ever before.

No, Rogers isn't leaving Quebec. Instead, this drop represents a quality issue with SMS snapshots from Dec 2018 to present.

On a related note, the bottom two graphs show a recovery in Videotron and Eastlink site and channel counts vs last month.

SMS snapshots should never be used as-is. We fix SMS snapshots and supplement with proprietary and other 3rd party data to ensure Canada Cellular Services provides you with the most accurate representation of Canada's wireless landscape.

Monday, 11-Feb-2019 — February SMS Snapshot Invalid for Rogers, Bell, Videotron & Eastlink

Graph of site counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Mar 2017 to Feb 2019 Graph of channel counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Mar 2017 to Feb 2019 Graph of site counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Mar 2017 to Feb 2019 Graph of channel counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Mar 2017 to Feb 2019

February sees a 16% and 71% increase in Freedom site and channel counts, including 2,648 AWS-3 channels, purchased for $56 million in Mar 2015.

It took 27 months from when Freedom deployed AWS-3 channels (Nov 2016) to when they first appeared in an SMS snapshot (Feb 2019). 1 to 2 months is the norm; 27 months is excessive.

Both graphs also show Videotron disappearing and Eastlink losing over half its channel count.

SMS snapshots should never be used as-is. We fix SMS snapshots and supplement with proprietary and other 3rd party data to ensure Canada Cellular Services provides you with the most accurate representation of Canada's wireless landscape.

Friday, 25-Jan-2019 — Cell Tower Fashion

The Eastmark Cell Tower in Mesa, Arizona (at right) shows that a cell tower can be something nice to look at. According to this article:

Early in the community's planning, the Eastmark Development Team self-imposed a requirement in the zoning documents to ensure all Eastmark cell towers have some form of camouflage. Yet, they felt the "fake tree" design attracted rather than detracted attention, so they looked beyond the camouflage solutions currently available in the market.

Upon completion, the Eastmark project team said the design reminded them of: Marshmallows on a stick ... A car engine cam shaft ... Spinning plates on a stick ... and Flying saucers.

You can visit its location here.

Cell tower, fashionable designed

Monday, 7-Jan-2019 — ISED SMS Snapshot is a Jigsaw Puzzle

Canada Cellular Services uses data from many sources: our proprietary cell site database, files from wireless carriers and monthly snapshots of the Spectrum Management System (SMS) from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).

These SMS snapshots are popular with Canada's wireless industry, but as we explain below, should never be used as-is.

We organize each snapshot into site location records and channel emission records. Roughly speaking, site counts measure network coverage and channel counts measure network capacity. The graphs below track cellular site and channel counts over the past two years.

Jigsaw puzzle pieces with one piece separated

Graph of site counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019 Graph of channel counts for Rogers, Telus, Bell from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019 Graph of site counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019 Graph of channel counts for Freedom, Videotron, SaskTel, Eastlink from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019

The top-left graph show Rogers and Bell site counts increasing in step with the growth of their wireless networks — except in Dec 2018 for Rogers and Jan 2019 for Bell, when these counts dropped precipitously. Unlike with Rogers and Bell, Telus site counts never experienced any consistent growth.

These graphs prove that SMS snapshots regularly misrepresent the coverage and / or capacity of a licensee's wireless network.

The bottom graphs show Eastlink site and channel counts tracking the month-to-month growth of their wireless network. Compare that with Freedom: it is highly unlikely that their wireless network grew only once (Sep 2017) over two years.

Other issues with SMS snapshots include field values off by orders of magnitude and site locations off by hundreds of meters.

Each SMS snapshot should provide a complete picture of Canada's wireless landscape at a point in time. But as the graphs prove, each SMS snapshot is only one piece of a jigsaw puzzle, which we have have solved many times by carefully merging recent snapshots, supplementing with files direct from wireless carriers, adjusting values and repositioning site locations.


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