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My Comments on Telus Mike
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Telus' Mike system is an alternative digital service primarily geared towards business users. The system uses iDEN technology developed by Motorola. The Mike system is similar to any other PCS service but the system also allows the handsets to act as a two-way radios: Motorola markets this as a 'Direct Connect' feature. Essentially your handset acts like a walkie-talkie and can communicate with other handsets anywhere within Mike's digital service area. Businesses could use the Mike system to keep in touch with their employees instead of operating their own radio network and having to obtain their own licenses and maintaining a limited-range antenna on their roof.


Mike's coverage is available across Canada in major urban centres and highways in-between. In addition, Telus has a roaming agreement with Nextel so that you can use your handset in most of the US. This roaming agreement has a bonus that no other service provider can offer: while roaming in the US you continue to pay your home rates and do not pay ANY roaming charges. However, US airtime and long distance are charged in addition to your monthly fee (i.e., you can't apply your monthly plan against US charges).


The Mike handset can be used as a cellular phone, and airtime is charged like a cellular phone. Telus' approach to marketing Mike is primarily for business radio use and not as a cell phone since they offer Telus Mobility PCS. This is quite a different approach compared to Nextel, the American company that also sells Motorola iDEN service. Nextel sells their handsets to both business and private users and competes directly with other American PCS providers.

Airtime is charged the same way as cellular on the Mike system while you are using it as a two-way radio. Both the originating and destination handsets pay for the airtime while talking or listening but only airtime is charged while conversation is taking place meaning that 'dead' airtime is not charged. You can choose whom you talk to using the 'Direct Connect' feature -- either one other handset or to many handsets at once.

GSM Cards

Some of the newer iDEN phones (e.g., i2000+) have slots for GSM cards for overseas roaming. While Nextel in the US does offer this service and you can obtain a Nextel SIM for overseas roaming, Telus does not offer SIM cards allowing people to access overseas GSM services on their iDEN handsets. If this is an issue for you, make sure to contact Telus and let them know that they should add GSM roaming to their iDEN network.


Where did the name 'Mike' originate from anyways? Mike is a fairly common name of an ordinary person that might use a cell phone. Mike could be a construction worker, a scientist, a trucker, a teacher, an unemployed student, or even the premier of the province of Ontario.

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