Bell is at the forefront of innovation, investing more in research and development than any other Canadian communications company and working with multiple technology partners on the introduction of new and advanced products and services.
IoT and mobile innovation
In addition to ongoing development of new online capabilities to improve the customer experience, Bell continued leading the way in the fast-growing Internet of Things (IoT) sector, supporting large-scale innovations in home automation, remote monitoring, asset tracking, fleet management, and Smart City applications.
In 2020, Bell launched Canada’s fastest 5G network in Canada. In addition to faster data speeds, 5G also delivers greater latency and multi-access edge computing, an advanced network architecture that extends new capabilities to the outer reaches of our network. By delivering high capacity and near instant connectivity over ever-expanding coverage areas, our 5G network will enable an ever-broadening range of new consumer and business applications, including mobile 4K video, immersive augmented reality applications, more support for autonomous vehicles and massive IoT automation.
Our 5G network builds on initiatives already underway to deliver advanced IoT solutions for manufacturing, agriculture and transport sectors as well as new Smart applications for municipalities, health care, first responders and other critical service providers. For more about the benefits of 5G wireless and Bell’s industry-leading R&D, please refer to the Economy page.
Connected homes and businesses
In 2020, Bell continued to maximize home Internet speeds for many of our residential customers by making our Bell Whole Home Wi-Fi service available for the first time to households in Atlantic Canada. With the Fibe Home Hub modem and the next generation of Wi-Fi pods that work with the Bell Wi-Fi app, customers benefit from strong signals that automatically adjust to household usage patterns to ensure all devices receive the strongest signal and fastest speed available.
Making it easier for residential customers to protect their properties and manage multiple smart devices, we continued expanding our suite of Bell Smart Home services, adding a self-monitoring home automation solution that enables customers to link smart products, like cameras, video doorbells and thermostats, to the Bell Smart Home app.
We also improved on-site Internet for small businesses in Ontario and Québec with the launch of Bell Total Business Wi-Fi. Providing business owners and their customers with wall-to-wall connectivity at maximum quality and speeds using Bell’s Wi-Fi pods and the Bell Wi-Fi app, businesses have the added benefit of being able to better manage and customize their networks by, for example, building separate access levels for employees, customers and business partners.
Net neutrality [SASB]
The CRTC oversees a regulatory framework that supports Internet service providers (ISPs) throughout Canada competing for customers based on quality of service, speeds, data allowance, service offerings, and pricing.
Designed to ensure key principles of net neutrality are maintained – including fostering consumer choice, innovation and the free exchange of ideas – this framework has been developed over a number of years and is implemented by the CRTC through Canada’s Telecommunications Act and specific rules for Internet traffic management practices and differential pricing practices.
Bell supports a free and open Internet and meets all requirements related to net neutrality as set by the CRTC, offering Canadians innovative, high-quality Internet access at competitive prices. With respect to online content, Bell recognizes the growing consensus that various players in the Internet ecosystem have a role to play in addressing illegal and other harmful material and supports a system that addresses such content consistent with the principles of net neutrality.
As Canada’s leading provider of innovative TV services and new platforms – including our award-winning Fibe TV app with live pause and rewind, exclusive features such as Download & Go, Restart, and Wireless TV, and Alt TV – we introduced the new Bell Streamer in 2020. A compact all-in-one 4K HDR device, Bell Streamer enables customers to view their favourite content directly to their TV screens, including live TV and on-demand content from Alt TV and other streaming services, as well as utilize thousands of Android apps.
Virgin Mobile Canada also launched Virgin TV in 2020, bringing more viewing choices to Virgin Internet members in Ontario and Québec. The service provides access to top content, including television shows and live sports, on any screen and at anytime using the Virgin TV app. Available exclusively with Virgin Internet – named by PCMag in 2020 as Canada’s best service for gaming – all Virgin Mobile Canada services use Bell’s networks to deliver fast, high-quality connectivity.
Retail services and new mobile devices
With COVID-19 resulting in a range of restrictions on retail operations, including temporary closures, Bell also introduced appointment-based shopping, implemented curbside pickup and adopted other key measures to meet the health and safety needs of customers and our team members. These measures have all helped ensure Bell services continue to be available at retail locations across Canada, including Bell and The Source stores, and through other retail partners. These retail locations also remain important to providing the best possible experience for our customers when they shop and interact with Bell, whether in-store or online.
In 2020, Bell added Giant Tiger to the roster of retailers where our low-cost wireless services are available. Today, Canadians can purchase Lucky Mobile SIM cards from over 250 Giant Tiger locations across Canada and set up service online or over the phone. This is on top of the more than 1,200 Dollarama locations across the country where Lucky Mobile and Virgin Mobile pre-paid services are available. We also partnered with Loblaws in 2020 to offer a newly rebranded PC Mobile service in more than 840 stores, further ensuring low-cost options are widely available to Canadians.
Providing the most in-demand smartphones, tablets and industrial mobile devices across the Canadian communications industry’s largest national distribution network, Bell also offers Canada’s largest selection of 5G smartphones from leading manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung, Google, and Motorola. And with Bell SmartPay, customers can acquire a new smartphone with $0 down on eligible 2-year plans.