When is Bell/MTS going to fix the coverage in Northwestern Ontario.

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  • Updated 3 months ago
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Gerry Shott

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Posted 1 year ago

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Dan, Champion

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Hi Gerry, Bell has planned to rollout LTE in the areas where they currently only have HSPA from what I can see. Assuming it will be on the 700Mhz band so you should see an improvement in service in future when they fire up LTE. Hearing about this issue lots, assuming the big increase of users on their network in that area has slowed it down for everyone. Last summer your phone would of been using TbayTels network so this is why you see a difference.
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Clifford Lewis, Champion

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Garry:   this was the MTS ( Jeremy, Official Rep) response in another thread about the change in service in the  Northwestern Ontario region.

Sorry for the delayed response, I was trying to find some more explanatory answers for you.  Basically from what I have been able to find is that we no longer have a roaming agreement with TBayTel.  Unfortunately I have not been able to discover why or what action is being taken to address the gaps this may cause but I can assure you that it is being discussed and there are folks looking into it.  I apologize for the inconvenience this may be causing and hope we have a viable solution for you in the near future.
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Tennille, Social Media Coordinator

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It definitely depends on the type of device you were using as well and what network bands (CDMA, GSM, HSPA, LTE) you were using.  Previously there was a roaming agreement with Rogers for MTS customers and this has changed so customers will notice a difference in the coverage they're receiving outside of Manitoba.  There is a possibility that as Bell MTS evolves there will be discovery in the coverage needs in that geographical area.  

Personally I also noticed the difference in coverage when I was in NW Ontario but was not surprised.  I have a positive outlook on the future of coverage for this area. :) 
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Heather Grant

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So cell service in NW Ontario will be back to normal, or improve when?? There are a number of Manitobans that spend summers in NW Ontario cottage country and rely on their cell phones to stay in touch with family/friends. Would like to know exactly when service will be back to normal. what does 'in the near future mean' exactly?
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Dan, Champion

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Service will not be going back to exactly to the way it was before. Before you roamed on TbeyTel/Rogers and now you use Bell's network. Bell needs to updgrade the area. If you need an imideat solution you'd have to switch to Rogers if you want the same service as before. Many customers are unhappy with this entire Bell buying out MTS also with customers being forced to switch to Telus, and if this is the case customers should of voiced their opinions to the CRTC, Compititon Bureau, and appropriate levels of Government.
(Edited)
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Jenna Kennedy

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Hey all, this issue has certainly presented itself for us at Laclu (down minaki road west of Kenora). Last year we had excellent service, this year nothing with Rogers customers maintaining service. Devices have not changed. Nothing helpful from Bell mts's response today. Hoping this changes soon or a switch to rogers may be in the cards. We are on an island with no electricity for a home phone. This presents a big issue for pickup. Appreciate any info anyone has!
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Ken Mills

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Just checked and I have a Wilson booster capable of all frequencies. It is an older model so I think it only handles 3G if I recall correctly. The newer models handle LTE also.
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lucas

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Kenora is different, but all providers in Sioux Narrows are on 850Mhz only at this point. 
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Ken Mills

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Lucas - check my post below. It might help.
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lucas

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Thanks Ken, I was given that same information about a month ago, so far I haven't seen that it makes much or any difference where I am.  Interesting about the resetting your phone at the tower, I haven't heard that before.  To be honest having customers disable key features on their devices doesn't seem like a very professional solution. 

Yesterday I went the whole day in Winnipeg with low to no service until I remembered I had disabled LTE on the weekend at the Lake.  Not ideal to have to manually change settings depending on where you are on the Bell network. 
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Dustin, Champion

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There isn't much recourse.  The most you might be able to get is for them to waive the unlock fee and/or the ~$50 early cancellation fee. You will still need to pay out the remaining balance on the device though.

The plus side is that if you buy out the device and have it unlocked, you don't need to sign a contract with Rogers.    
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lucas

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I have the same problems in the Sioux Narrows area and I have found no information about when these issues will be fixed.   Research shows me that Bell has 700MHz LTE deployed along the highway from Thunderbay towards Kenora but it stops east of Kenora.  This seems strange to me considering the amount of customers in the Lake of the Woods region.   If Bell would turn on a few 700Mhz LTE around Kenora and Sioux Narrows; most customers will remain, otherwise customers are going to be forced to switch providers just to remain safe in their boats and cabins.  

It is much easier to keep customers then to find new ones, hopefully there will be some good news soon.
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lucas

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This appears to be the first of many 700Mhz LTE towers that start just east of Kenora - FYI
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Ken Mills

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Talked to a BellMTS rep and they are aware of the problem and are actively working to test and fix. No timeline but he gave me some options to try:

For iPhone go to settings and turn off Bluetooth and Wifi. (the instructions will be similar for Androids)

Under cellular choose 3G instead of LTE. Make sure roaming is set to on.

Under carrier turn off automatic. This will bring up carrier options. Choose whatever carrier is available. You might need to cycle your phone off and then on.

This should help although he did mention he would reset my phone at the tower?? I told him I use the tower at Clearwater Bay as I have a booster.

Hope this helps for some of you. Let me know if this works. I won't be able to test until the July long weekend :-(


(Edited)
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lucas

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Maybe I missed this last time I looked but I just noticed Bell is showing two 700Mhz sites in the Kenora area.  Clearwater Bay and another site that is straight north of Downtown Kenora.  If those are new then maybe the coverage is going to be improved for MTS customers with 700Mhz compatible devices in that area?
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Ken Mills

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The cynic in me thinks my email to BellMTS last week complaining of the service in NW Ontario is behind my receiving notice this week that my accounts are going to Telus. I checked Telus map and it showed service to my area from the tower I had always accessed in the past. Likely a TBayTel tower.

This was all after spending some time on the phone with a BellMTS rep. Bottom line last week was that it was not likely I would get service like I was last year. Hopefully migrating to Telus will solve my problems. I will post if it does.

In the mean time, I do know that Rogers works in my area so take that info for what it is worth.


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Dustin, Champion

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Are you 100% sure of that? Telus has been showing that whole area as having seemingly identical coverage as Rogers for some time on their map.

With the new Rogers CEO having come from Telus...it wouldn't surprise me if they (Telus) made an arrangement with Rogers to gain additional coverage in some trouble areas
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Dan, Champion

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Yes I am sure. Some of the carriers like to exaggerate their coverage maps beyond their actual coverage to show they are close to or the same as the compititon. Plus I'm NW Ontario, Rogers service is mainly provided by TbayTel.
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Dustin, Champion

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I wouldnt say that they are exaggerated per say...more like the coverage shown is likely based on different user equipment.

Ie. The MTS coverage map shows next to no service up highway 17 from just north of Teulon all the way to around Poplarfield. The Rogers and Telus maps both show coverage for that entire stretch. First hand experience driving through that area tells me that the MTS maps are likely modeled assuming a standard handheld device as the UE, as the coverage is almost exactly as shown. The Rogers map was likely modeled assuming a "full powered mobile phone" as the UE, since using a simple mobile booster does in fact result in very useable coverage all through that same stretch. Both maps are technically accurate...just based off the use of different user equipment.
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Ken Mills

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Update - got switched to Telus last year. After trying all of the towers in the area I can confirm little or no coverage in my area. Still looking for options.
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Dan, Champion

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If you had better service before with MTS you will have to switch to Rogers or TbeyTel. Those are the towers MTS used there before but now Bell MTS and Telus use Bell’s towers there and coverage is not as good as Rogers and TbayTel.
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lucas penner

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I have update from Lake of the woods area new Sioux Narrows.   On July long weekend I was very occasionally able to connect using Band 13 LTE (700MHZ) for the first time, while out on the Lake. 
While I had a connection, my text messages came through but I didn't get enough data to refresh my weather application so I would say the data still has issues!   But that means the 700LTE antenna must be powered on in Sioux Narrows and hopefully that things will be improving?