As one of the two main CDMA cellular service providers in Canada -- Telus Mobility being the other -- Bell Mobility has a fairly significant presence in the country emblazoned with a maple leaf. As a division of Bell Canada, Bell Mobility has over 5 million mobile subscribers, in addition to the customers the company acquired as part of a larger restructuring with Aliant, and more specifically, Aliant Mobility (which still operates under that name today).
The Beavers of Bell Mobility
One of the most popular ad campaigns put on by Bell Mobility involved a pair of stereotypical Canadians... they just happened to be beavers. Billed as a pair of inseparable males in an ambiguous relationship (a la Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street), Frank and Gordon were the mascots for the company, and were first introduced during the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino (Turin), Italy. The CGI-animated duo are involved in a number of humourous commercials on TV, as well as on the radio, in newspapers, and billboards.
The Frank and Gordon ad campaign came to a close in August 2008, getting replaced with a more minimalist approach. In the newer ad campaign, most commercials and other marketing material make use of a plain white background with big blue text. The wording usually describes how things "got better," with the final "er" being shown in bold font.
Technology and MVNOs
As noted above, the primary service that Bell Mobility provides is that for CDMA cellular phones. They are also noted for their walkie-talkie services over the network (much like that offered through Sprint Nextel), known as Push-to-Talk or PTT for short, as well as the lesser-known AMPS and 1xRTT technologies. Most recently, Bell Mobility jumped into the realm of 3G Mobile Phone Technology when they adopted EV-DO. One of the most notable high-speed data services they provide is Mobile TV.
In late 2009, Bell Mobility expanded into another realm by launching a shared 3G network with Telus Mobility. This network is based on HSDPA (High Speed Data Packet Access), which is the same technology used for the 3G network from Fido and Rogers. This allowed for the introduction of devices like the Apple iPhone 3GS.
As well as serving the Canadian public under their own banner, there are no fewer than three MVNOs, or mobile virtual network operators, that work on the Bell Mobility network. These are Virgin Mobile, Solo Mobile (owned by Bell), and PC Mobile (sold in Real Canadian Superstore locations). These MVNOs typically don't require a contract and work on a prepaid basis, just like the "lifestyle MVNOs" of the United States, such as Boost Mobile Straight Talk.
Select Cellular Phones and Smartphones
Bell Mobility has several handset that are not only visually appealing, but come with plenty of high-tech features to keep you at the cutting edge of cell phone technology. Here is but a small sample of what they have to offer:
- Apple iPhone 3GS: Thanks to the launch of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) friendly network, Bell was able to enter the Apple arena with its own iPhone. The older and less expensive iPhone 3G is also available.
- Palm Pre: Bell is the exclusive Canadian carrier of this smartphone, which represented a major accomplishment for Palm. Rather than using the old Palm OS or Windows Mobile, this device uses the newer webOS platform. It also features a touchscreen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for ease of text entry.
- BlackBerry Bold 9700: The second generation BlackBerry Bold replaces the old trackball for a new optical trackpad. The form factor is also more compact than its predecessor, offering a size closer to handsets from the BlackBerry Curve line.
- Nokia N97: Another phone exclusive to Bell Mobility in Canada is this Symbian-based handset from Nokia. The smartphone comes fully equipped with Bluetooth Technology and a camera, as well as a big touchscreen, horizontally-sliding QWERTY keyboard, and a premium finish.