Saturday, December 08, 2007

CityWest hopes for seamless cellular and digital service by Christmas

The city's cellular network run by CityWest has been proving to be problematic for the last few weeks, as bugs apparently related to the telephone service providers switchover to Northwestel cellular trunking has raised the ire of many local residents.

Local residents have been complaining of dropped calls, poor audio and the draining of the cel phone batteries all related it seems to the change over of providers.

With Rogers preparing to launch service in the Northwest in the near future (pictures of their cel tower relays being placed atop the Highliner Inn were seen in the Daily News this week) the timing is bad for a CityWest system malfunction.

The Daily News provided details of the CityWest troubles over the last week as their front page story in Friday's paper.

By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Friday, December 07, 2007
Pages one and three

Although there have been some bumps in switching over the cellular system in the last week and a half, CityWest is confident people can have a functioning Blackberry under the tree this Christmas.

At their annual information session Wednesday evening, Rob Brown, CityWest general manager, said much of the cellular system change-over is complete.

However, he added, they are still ironing out some issues with the new system.
CityWest is transferring its cellular system from its former provider to NorthWest Tel, a division Bell Canada in order to offer a wider range of text and data services for cell phones.
"It is my hope you will be able to have a Blackberry for Christmas," said Brown.

Chad Cunningham, sales and marketing manager for CityWest, said they are now in the process of optimizing the new system in order to get the cell phones running the way they always did, and they want to focus on this goal before they start adding new services such as Blackberry services.

"That's been the focus for the past week and a half. We all wanted the service, but we don't want to rush it before its time."

Cellular customers have been reporting problems with sound quality and dropped calls for the past week and a half as the new system was brought on-line.

Another issue is that cellular batteries are draining faster than usual, and some handsets are locked onto analog. Cunningham said engineers are working to correct the problems.
Getting text and data transfer services for cell phones has been a high priority for the company in order to meet the expectations of residents and visitors alike.

While, some people have been experiencing problems, people with existing Blackberries and those with personal digital assistants (PDAs) from out of this area are already benefiting from the new system, said Brown. And they are confident they will be able to work out the bugs.

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