Record of Site Changes: 2001
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Dec 31/01: Starting this week you can catch the author of this site on "The Shopping Bags", which airs on WTV. See their website to find out what time this program is on in your region.
Dec 29/01: Updates to SimPro opinion page.
Dec 23/01: Bell Mobility, south of Mayfair Mall, Victoria.
Dec 22/01: Bell Mobility starts to install sites in Victoria, including sites in North Saanich, Central Saanich, Saanich East, and Langford.
Dec 19/01: Starting to add Telus Mobility sites to Ottawa and Hull maps..
Dec 18/01: Two new Mike sites, Burnaby North and Burnaby South.
Dec 18/01: Microcell Connexions sites and ID's added to remaining Ottawa maps.
Dec 12/01: GeckoBeach 2002 calendar now available for download.
Dec 12/01: Microcell Connexions sites and ID's added to Aylmer, Hull South, Gatineau West, and Gatineau East maps.
Dec 04/01: Updates to information on Rogers page regarding their GSM services.
Dec 04/01: Updates to plans offered by Telus Mobility.
Dec 02/01: Updates to Pre-paid plans page.
Dec 02/01: Removed Connectel opinion page as they are no longer offering GSM services in Canada.
Oct 31/01: Added 16 pages of new maps for the Ottawa and Hull regions.
Oct 31/01: Rogers GSM, Haliburton Rd and Pat Bat Hwy, Saanich East.
Oct 31/01: Rogers GSM confirmed in Nanaimo, BC.
Oct 25/01: Telus Mobility turns off the remaining Clearnet PCS towers across BC and Alberta -- you can verify this with your CDMA phone by dialing *22803 (you will get a called failed or fast busy signal with most models).
Oct 25/01: Rogers GSM, Quadra Street hydro tower (co-located with Clearnet PCS), Saanich East.
Oct 19/01: Telus Mobility introduces unlimited evenings and weekends for the Pay and Talk plan. See the pre-paid comparison page for more details.
Oct 19/01: Updates to Bell Mobility plans.
Oct 17/01: Telus Mobility has started the removal of Clearnet PCS towers in BC and Alberta. If you still own a old Clearnet PCS phone, you live in BC or Alberta, and have not had it upgraded/replaced, then make sure you do ASAP.
Oct 16/01: Added a few more answers to the FAQ's.
Oct 09/01: Added review of Motorola P280 phone
Oct 03/01: Interview with ForceFour Entertainment for 'The Shopping Bags'. Episode 14 will run eight times on WTN during the week of 31 Dec 2001 and will feature a 5 minute report on how to buy a cell phone. See their website for more info.
Sep 29/01: Rogers GSM on the CanWest Mall Environmental Hydropoles.
Sep 28/01: Various updates to PCS Plans Comparison page.
Sep 27/01: Added details on 'The Big Deal' from Telus.
Sep 18/01: Added Fredericton West and Fredericton East maps.
Sep 18/01: Added Ericsson Secrets page.
Sep 18/01: Added Motorola Secrets page.
Sep 10/01: Rogers GSM, Interurban Hydro Tower, Saanich West.
Sep 10/01: Telus Mike cells installed on Sandown Raceway tower, Sidney.
Aug 31/01: Added Rogers US, Mexican, and Caribbean roaming numbers.
Aug 30/01: Telus Mobility imposes an activation fee of $25 on all new activations. If you live in ON or PQ this fee will be waived until 30 Sept. 2001 or this fee will be waived if you activate online.
Aug 30/01: Cleanup of Links page.
Aug 29/01: Added Small Biz plans to Bell Mobility Opinion page.
Aug 21/01: Updates to the Mike opinion page.
Aug 19/01: Updates to the Fido opinion page, including the addition of two new packages that include unlimited evenings and weekends.
Aug 17/01: Telus Mobility/Clearnet PCS repeater, Duke Point ferry terminal Nanaimo South (49 07.97 x -123 52.01).
Aug 14/01: A new Telus Mike and PCS tower is under construction at the Sandown Raceway in Sidney.
Aug 01/01: Rogers coverage now confirmed for Tofino and Ucluelet, West Vancouver Island, SID 17051.
July 29/01: Telus roaming and star numbers are now starting to work with Clearnet PCS phones.
July 26/01: If you own a Nokia 6188 on the old Clearnet PCS network and haven't had the phone reflashed with the newest firmware yet, you can still update your PRL by calling *22803 and following the prompts (hit 1 then 2). Once completed your phone will use the Telus 800/1900 digital network (in BC and AB) and the Mobility analog network. Note that you will no longer receive caller ID in analog areas using the Mobility analog network.
July 19/01: Updates to Bell Mobility Opinion page.
July 19/01: Bell Mobility makes a stronger presence in BC and Alberta by selling their wireless products through retailers such as Wireless Wave and Future Shop plus opening additional 'Bell World' stores. No towers of their own in these provinces, so customers will still roam through Telus Mobility.
July 17/01: Newsletter Volume 1, Number 3 published.
July 12/01: Microcell Iona Island Repeater (49 13.12 x 123 12.17), Rogers Iona Island AMPS/tdMA/GSM (49 13.11 x 123 12.07), Telus northern airport (49 12.74 x 123 10.26), Microcell King Edward x Cambie NE (49 14.94 x 123 06.94). All shown on the Vancouver West map.
July 11/01: Are you a newsletter subscriber yet? If not then sign up for your free GeckoBeach newsletter. The next newsletter will be published later this week.
July 10/01: Emails from various users have indicated that Rogers will now delay the launch of their GSM network until September or October 2001. In a press release dated 9 July 2001, Rogers states they now have their GSM network operational in at least 25 major Canadian centres.
July 09/01: No word yet on the launch date of Rogers' GSM network across Canada - I've been told anywhere between a few weeks to sometime in 2002. If anyone knows any more information then please pass it on.
July 09/01: Telus Mobility plans to install a new 25.6 m camera tower at Sandown Raceway, North Saanich to replace the existing 22.6 m observation tower. The application states that both 1900 CMDA and 800 iDEN cells will be placed on this new structure to extend the original Clearnet PCS and Mike footprint of this site.
July 04/01: Rogers microcells: 41st x Knight SW (49 13.94 x 123 04.62), 49th x Knight SE (49 13.49 x 123 04.63), and 53rd x Main, East Vancouver.
July 04/01: Rogers AMPS/tdMA/GSM, Mt. St. Joesph's Hospital, Emergency Entrance (49 15.50 x 123 05.25), East Vancouver.
July 04/01: Telus, Main x Kent E (Behind Real Canadian Superstore; 49 12.36 x 123 06.15), East Vancouver.
July 04/01: Telus, Luckakuck Way, Cottonwood Mall E (49 08.50 x 121 57.53), Chilliwack.
July 04/01: A few more Rogers SID's: Prince George 16737; Cache Creek 16851; 100 Mile House 16865; Williams Lake 16801; Quesnel 16847; Hope 16489; Vanderhoof 16873.
July 04/01: Updates to the Prince Rupert map.
June 20/01: GeckoBeach is featured in the business section of the Victoria Times-Colonist. See the news article here.
June 20/01: Updates to the picocell walking tour map for Pacific Centre Mall, Vancouver.
June 14/01: After receiving many requests (especially from readers in South America), I have added translation links for French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese.
June 14/01: Updates to the Telus plans for Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia.
June 12/01: Changed Poll (#3)
June 07/01: Updates to Telus and Rogers sites in Kelowna, including site locations of Rogers' new GSM network. (Thanks Chad)
June 04/01: Added map of Prince Rupert CityTel AMPS and CDMA equipment locations.
May 28/01: Sunday's CBC Cross-country checkup asked the question "should cell phones be regulated while driving a car?". I tried to call in to give my two cents worth, but only got busy signals. Anyways, a very interesting show with lots of varied options of this question and the use of cell phones in general.
May 28/01: The mysterious Rogers SID: I posted this one a year ago and still haven't found the answer. Rogers uses different SID's across Canada, which among other things allow you to determine the boundaries of local calling. Their tower on Alert Bay (Northern Vancouver Island) uses SID 16427 -- the same SID as Victoria, however you cannot place local calls to Victoria numbers. My question is why is Rogers reusing a SID?
May 28/01: Deactivated BCTel/Telus and Clearnet PCS pages. Added new Telus opinion page.
May 28/01: Added new How to Interpret the Maps page.
May 15/01: After many requests I have added PDF support for printing both the digital PCS and pre-paid plan comparison pages.
May 11/01: Clearnet PCS, Mike, Rhombus Hotel, Chilliwack (49 10.12 x 121 57.19)
May 11/01: Telus Mobility, Rogers, Microcell, Patten and Mary, Chilliwack (49 10.15 x 121 57.59)
May 11/01: Rogers, Surrey Municipal Hall, Surrey (49 06.27 x 122 49.67)
May 11/01: Clearnet PCS repeater, King George and Hwy 10, Surrey (49 06.27 x 122 49.78)
May 11/01: Clearnet PCS repeater, Westbank (49 51.98 x 119 34.10)
May 11/01: Rogers tower relocated behind Mission Hill, Westbank (49 50.98 x 119 35.24)
May 11/01: Clearnet PCS, Microcell, Nicklaus North Golf Hydro Tower, Whistler (50 08.00 x 122 57.59)
May 11/01: Telus Mobility, Rogers, Alpine Meadows, Whistler
May 11/01: Telus Mobility, Clearnet, Microcell, Rogers, Whistler village (50 06.84 x 122 57.26)
May 11/01: Clearnet PCS, Mike, Microcell, Alta Lake Hydro Tower, Whistler (50 06.23 x 122 59.67)
May 11/01: Telus Mobility, Alta Lake Hydro Tower, Whistler (50 05.80 x 123 00.45)
May 04/01: New Microcell Connexions site, Cedar (SE of Nanaimo), next to the Crow and Gate Pub (49 05.41 x 123 50.26).
May 02/01: Changed poll.
Apr. 18/01: Some new pictures of Telus Mobility sites added.
Apr. 17/01: Updated both Vancouver East and West maps, including PN offsets for several of the Telus sites. Telus has co-located most of their 800 and 1900 CDMA sites in Vancouver and even is using the same PN offsets for both frequencies at the same site.
Apr. 17/01: Microcell will soon offer digital PCS services to users in metro Halifax. Towers are being installed in both Halifax and Dartmouth. Thanks to M. Gould for the tip.
Apr. 17/01: Microcell is working again in Nanaimo. Coverage extends from Nanaimo north through Nanoose and Parksville all the way to Qualicum Beach. Thanks to B. McCullough for the Microcell updates.
Apr. 11/01: Does Nanaimo have Microcell's GSM service or not. It was working earlier this month and now users are roaming on Telus analog again?
Apr. 11/01: Rogers is quickly setting up their new GSM network for launch by the 1st of July. Users in BC, Alberta, ON, and PQ have all reported picking up the network service 'CAN 72' using their Fido phones.
Apr. 02/01: GeckoBeach Discussion Groups go live.
Apr. 01/01: Rogers has claimed to have cellular services along the west coast of Vancouver Island, between Ucluelet and Tofino from November 2000. I could not obtain a signal from either their AMPS or tdMA network this last week ANYWHERE in this area. Has anyone with a Rogers phone been able to use Rogers' services in this area? Would anyone at Rogers care to explain the lack of service in this area, even though they made such a big deal about being the only provider offering digital services in this region a few months ago??
Apr. 01/01: Microcell is now digital in Nanaimo, BC.
Apr. 01/01: Clearnet PCS clients almost ready for an OTAP or automatic phone programming system upgrade? Try *22803 from your cell phone and listen to the message from Telus Mobility.
Apr. 01/01: Many minor updates on most pages, including a fix for the background images, some additions and deletions to info, etc (2001-012).
Apr. 01/01: The changes page was getting a bit long and now has been split into years 1998-2001
Mar. 24/01: Added review of the Nokia 3390
Mar. 22/01: Rogers testing their new GSM network? Apparently in Richmond (BC) Fido users can go into the manual system selection on their phones and a new system (besides 'Fido') shows up called 'CAN 72'. Can anyone else confirm this for other cities? Rogers plans to have a full GSM network operational in most major Canadian cities by July 1st, 2001.
Mar. 16/01: Added poll to main page.
Mar. 15/01: Added newsletter: volume 1, number 2 to archives.
Mar. 12/01: Rogers introduces the Nokia 5125 (800 tdMA/AMPS) to its Pay-as-you-go plan for $99.99 (price after $50 rebate), including 60 min of airtime. Thanks to D. Dranfield for the tip.
Mar. 09/01: A new link to a website that lets you browse and send ringtones to Rogers and other tdMA handsets. See http://wireless.essayworld.com/. Thanks to C. Dunn for the tip.
Mar. 09/01: Yesterday several of the major Canadian newspapers ran front page articles about Industry Canada seeking public advice on the use of cell phone jamming devices. Several people were for the idea as they didn't like the idea of people having their phones ring during movies, concerns, or in finer dining establishments. Many more were against the idea as a very important call could come in during one of the above mentioned events (an example given was a babysitter calling) or they might have to make a 911 call. IC is asking the public's opinion about use of these currently illegal devices. See their web site for more info. Telus Mobility also offers these tips about using your phone in a public place
Mar. 08/01: Another mysterious cell -- can anyone help me identify it? Just to the east of the Vancouver Art Galley backdoor (where protests are usually held) and just before the northern set of stairs going down to the ice rink there is a single large white cell neatly hidden within three white poles (matching all the other flagpoles in the area; location: 49 16.95N x 123 07.26W). Any ideas?
Mar. 06/01: Fido lowers their long distance rate to $0.10/min anywhere in Canada or the US. Fido also announces a new lower roaming rate of US$0.20/min while roaming in the US. See Fido's page for more information. Thanks to Norm Marples for the tip.
Mar. 04/01: New cell pictures for Telus Mobility, Clearnet, and Microcell Connexions.
Feb. 28/01: How many people had to use their cell phones after the earthquake 10:55 this morning in southwestern BC? So many that the circuits became jammed on all the wireless networks and on landlines. The quake measured 6.8 and the epicentre was south of Seattle, WA. See the pictures I took at the Pacific Geological Centre of the chart recordings shortly after the quake.
Feb. 27/01: Updates to most of the provider pages, including rate plan updates for Telus Mobility (Clearnet) and Fido's new i.Fido services.
Feb. 27/01: Add-The-Code, an advertisement that Torontians saw last year will soon be appearing in Vancouver. Starting in the fall of this year (Nov 3) Vancouver will be receiving a second area code, 778, to be overlaid on the 604 area code. Starting on May 26th Vancouver residents will be reminded to dail 10, instead of 7 digits, when placing local calls.
Feb. 27/01: Still no digital services for Fido customers in Nanaimo. Hopefully very very soon!
Feb. 27/01: Seattle notes update from a few readers: Qwest also operates a CDMA network in the area (SID 05351, A-band) and Cingular (who purchased GTE services) wireless is doing a GSM buildout with services to be launched in the next few months.
Feb. 15/01: Mapping cells in the Seattle area using CDMA PN offsets. Seattle has three CDMA providers: Airtouch/Verizon (SID 00006, force *22801), GTE (SID 04185, force *22802), and Sprint PCS (SID 04186, force *22803). Both Airtouch/Verizon and Sprint PCS are using PN offsets in multiples of 4 separated by 160 (e.g., tower 1 would be 004/164/324). GTE is using offsets in multiples of 3 in sequential order (e.g., tower 1 would be 003/006/009). Look for a page coming soon with more PN offset information for various CDMA providers. If you are in another city then please send me your CDMA PN offset information and I will add it to this upcoming page.
Feb. 14/01: Rogers reports loss of subscribers in record numbers for the last quarter. Reasons given included intense competition and billing problems. This loss was worse than predicted, but strong profits from both their media and cable services helped offset this loss.
Feb. 01/01: On Jan 18/01 I reported that text messaging seemed to be free for Clearnet PCS clients, however it now seems that ALL Clearnet clients will incur a $0.10 charge for each message received unless you already subscribe to text messaging services. If you do not wish to incur any unexpected message charges then call Clearnet and ask for all message services to be removed from your account. Clearnet clients on the 'small talk' plan do not have to call and cancel as messaging services are not part of this particular plan.
Jan. 30/01: Fido changes their policy on free SMS and logo/ringtone uploads. From Feb. 05/01 until March 5/01 all incoming and outgoing text messages are free, but after March 5th users will be given 20 free messages per month and then will be charged $0.10/message. New logo or ringtone uploads will be charged $0.50 each. For an additional $5/month post-paid customers (i.e., not Fidomatic) will have the option to receive up to 100 messages free (logos and ringtones NOT included). To send messages there will be a per use charge of $0.10 each. Customers not wishing to incur message charges will be able to block incoming messages. Prior to this time all incoming messages, logos, and ringtones were free and for only $2/month you could send unlimited messages.
Jan. 30/01: Monthly service charges will be going up with all providers starting this spring. Commonly referred to as 'government tax' by providers, the system licencing/access fee that is charged either monthly ($4-4.95) or annually ($48) will increase. For Clearnet customers the monthly fee will jump to $6.95/month; Rogers customers will pay $6-$6.25/month. Part of this fee covers government licensing charges with the rest going towards the cost of operating the wireless network including ongoing maintenance, new equipment, installations, and technology upgrades.
Jan. 29/01: Several new Microcell connexions sites spotted in Nanaimo. Digital services for Fido, Cityfone, and SimPro users will likely be online within a week or so. The digital footprint will extend from Ladysmith to Parksville and exceed what Clearnet currently offers for a digital footprint in Nanaimo.
Jan. 29/01: Microcell Connexions repeater, Go Karts/Amusement park about 1.5 km north of Northwest Bay Rd., Hwy 19 (49 16.41N x 124 14.21W).
Jan. 29/01: Microcell Connexions repeater, Industrial Park, Ware Rd and Hwy 19 (49 14.71N x 124 05.00W), Nanaimo North.
Jan. 29/01: Microcell Connexions 'double' repeater, Duke Point turnoff at Hwy 19 (49 06.87N x 123 54.43W), Nanaimo South.
Jan. 29/01: Telus Mobility Macro site tower, Nanaimo Bungi Zone (49 04.78N x 123 52.95W).
Jan. 29/01: ICBC (Insurance Coorporation of BC) releases results from a study that talking on a cell phone while driving increases your chances of having an accident. This study included talking with a hands-free kit or headset and keeping both hands on the wheel. Essentially they state that drivers should not talk on the phone since it interfers with driving. True, but so will listening to a radio or having a detailed conversation with a fellow passenger. The conclusions? Unclear, but if you have to drive and talk then use a hands-free phone or headset. If you need to think while talking on the phone then the best bet is to pull over and focus just on the phone call.
Jan. 29/01: 'Clearnet's Last Straw' posted on the newsgroups a few weeks ago. After being a Clearnet PCS customer for over three years I vent my concerns of inferior customer service, poor accounting services, incorrect web page information, and assorted overcharges. As such I cancel my current rate plan with them.
Jan. 18/01: Updated Rogers opinion page, including adding a new popup page for 'Your Plan'.
Jan. 18/01: Free text messaging on Clearnet PCS phones? Try it out at http://www.msg.clearnet.com.
Jan. 13/01: Updated all service provider option pages.
Jan. 13/01: Added screens 80-84 on the Nokia 6185/8 secrets page.
Jan. 07/01: Added review of the Sanyo SCP4500.


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