Telus turning on LTE across Canada on Friday

Telus(s TU) will launch Canada’s third LTE network on Friday, rolling out the mobile broadband technology in 14 cities from Vancouver to Halifax. It plans to expand the network throughout 2012 to cover 25 million Canadians, 71 percent of the country’s population, by year end.

Telus will launch with four devices and will be the first North American operator to sell Samsung’s new hybrid smartphone/tablet, the Galaxy Note, in its stores on Feb. 14 (AT&T(s t) started taking pre-orders last week, but won’t get the device untol Feb. 19). On Friday, Telus will begin selling LTE versions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the LG Optimus, as well as a Novatel USB stick.

Rogers(s rog) was the first to kick off its LTE, rolling out service in Canada’s four biggest markets last summer and fall. It was followed quickly by Bell Mobility(s bce), which turned on its first networks throughout Ontario in September. Now all three are in a race to complete their nationwide rollouts. Given Canada’s much smaller population, they will probably beat most U.S. operators to that goal, though they still have a lot of geography to cover.

Telus’ launch cities are: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, metropolitan Toronto, Kitchener, Waterloo, Hamilton, Guelph, Belleville, Ottawa, Montreal, Québec City, Halifax and Yellowknife.

The LTE debut is welcome news for Telus’ two primary network vendors Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks(s nok)(s si), which are both working on Bell Mobility’s networks as well. Both have failed to land any of the major U.S. LTE contracts, despite their 4G success in other regions of the world.

Photo courtesy of Juan_M