Mike (cellular network)


Mike (cellular network)

Mike (styled MiKE) is a Canadian mobile phone and push-to-talk network, launched in 1996 using the proprietary iDEN platform from Motorola. The network was initially launched by Clearnet in the Windsor to Québec corridor, while its roll-out in western Canada followed in 1997.[1] Telus Mobility acquired the Mike network through its acquisition of Clearnet in 2000.

Today, Telus Mobility corporate stores sell Mike products and services. They are primarily marketed to business, owing to the subsecond push-to-talk technology inherent to the iDEN network technology. Compared to other wireless carriers in Canada, Mike has been noted for its competitive North American roaming rates, dating back to its Green Card roaming option, which was launched in 1997 through a partnership with Nextel in the United States.[2][3]

Contents

Network

The Mike national network is deployed across six provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, and Nova Scotia). The network is entirely digital, and supports voice, data, short messaging, and DirectConnect push-to-talk services anywhere there is coverage.

Excluding WiDEN technology

WiDEN is a wider band, "2.5G" technology developed by Motorola as an upgrade to iDEN networks. WiDEN allows for speeds up to 100 kbit/s, comparable to EDGE and 1XRTT. Telus has not deployed WiDEN on their Mike network, given that the upgrade uses a larger portion of the wireless spectrum dedicated to iDEN, which leads to decreased network capacity. For the same reason (in part), Sprint rolled back their WiDEN overlay on all towers shortly after they acquired Nextel Communications in 2005.

Roaming

Roaming is available on the Nextel network in the United States, and internationally with Nextel International networks in Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and Argentina.

The following per-minute rates apply for calls made using Nextel International roaming:

  • To roaming country phone number: $0.99
  • To Canada/USA phone number: $1.49
  • To other countries: $0.99 + long distance charges
  • Incoming: $1.24
  • DirectConnect: $0.50

International iDEN customers can roam on the MiKE network at their applicable roaming rates. United States prepaid provider Boost Mobile offers its customer DirectConnect and text messaging while roaming in Canada, although voice calls cannot be dialed except for emergency numbers. Nextel customers from the United States have long had the ability to utilize unlimited data, at no additional fee, while roaming on the Mike network in Canada.

Competition

Mike competed directly against Bell Mobility's 10-4 service, compatible with almost a dozen of Sanyo feature phones offered by the provider.[4] Another major competitor was Bell-owned Solo Mobile, a youth-targeted brand promoted with the slogan "Cell Phone. Walkie talkie. Spread The Word." In both cases, 10-4 was powered by Bell Mobility's CDMA network, which is also used for regular voice, text and data service.[5] Customers complained that Bell's service had poorer push-to-talk call setup and latency times. Today, Bell continues to offer the 10-4 service, but the Sanyo Pro-700 is currently the only phone sold by Bell which is 10-4 capable.[6] 10-4 is discontinued at Solo.[7]

Products

All modern Mike mobile devices and smartphones feature built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. They are also data-capable and include a web browser. Devices also support third-party applications, such as the Opera Mini web browser or Google Maps.

Feature phones

Half a dozen of rugged feature phones, manufactured by Motorola, are branded with the Mike name and currently available for that cellular network:

  • Mike i296
  • Mike i365
  • Mike i365is
  • Mike i420
  • Mike i576s
  • Mike i686, Brute

The OpenWave web browser is pre-installed on each device.

BlackBerry

Research In Motion released their first BlackBerry smartphone for iDEN networks in 2002. To date, the company is the only device manufacturer to compete with Motorola in manufacturing devices for iDEN networks. The BlackBerry 7100i with SureType was released in November 2005, but is no longer available.

Due to uncertainty surrounding the Sprint Nextel merger in the United States, more than three years passed before the BlackBerry Curve 8350i was launched in late 2008, supporting Wi-Fi and BlackBerry OS 4.7. As of late 2010, the phone can be upgraded to OS 5.0.

Android

The Mike i1 smartphone was launched in 2010, making it the first official Android device on the company's network. The smartphone is a touchscreen device with the DirectConnect push-to-talk feature available natively. The phone uses the iDEN network for voice, push-to-talk, text messaging, and push data, while higher bandwidth applications are supported through the on-board Wi-Fi. Like other Motorola and iDEN devices, the smartphone supports A-GPS and uses a 2.5mm audio jack, but also features a 5.0 megapixel camera, Flash, and the Motoblur social networking applications.

Subscriber identity cards

All iDEN Networks utilize SIM cards,[citation needed] much like GSM networks. Mike currently uses 128k cards, which come with all new devices designed for the network. The SIM cards allow subscribers to "swap" the card into another phone for quick use, technically allowing use of any iDEN device for at least basic voice and push-to-talk services.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Clearnet Introduces MiKE(TM): Integrated Wireless Technology That Will Save Businesses Time and Money". 27 September 1996. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Clearnet+Introduces+MiKE(TM)+-+Integrated+Wireless+Technology+That...-a018716269. 
  2. ^ "Clearnet Launches Straightforward, Fixed-Rate US Roaming Service for PCS Clients". 8 July 1998. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Clearnet+Launches+Straightforward,+Fixed-Rate+US+Roaming+Service+for...-a020876642. 
  3. ^ "Clearnet Turns On Canada's Most Economic and Convenient US Roaming Service Hassle-Free Mike Roaming Costs a Fraction of What Closest Cellular Competitor Charges". 18 July 1997. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Clearnet+Turns+On+Canada's+Most+Economic+and+Convenient+US+Roaming...-a019593769. 
  4. ^ [www.bce.ca/en/news/releases/bm/2005/03/16/72197.html Bell Canada Pushes Button on its Wireless Walkie-Talkie Service and Says "10-4, Good Buddy" - Bell Canada Enterprises]
  5. ^ Bell Mobility 10-4 demo
  6. ^ Sanyo Pro-700 at Bell Mobility
  7. ^ Solo Mobile add-ons

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