Rogers Communications Inc. has launched Canada’s first Long Term Evolution network, serving the Ottawa area.
LTE is a wireless technology that affords maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 75 Mbps and could increase to double that, though typical download speeds will range from 12 to 25Mbps, according to the company. The first LTE-enabled device is Rogers’ LTE Rocket Stick from Sierra Wireless Inc.
Network coverage extends to Hull, Que., the Gatineau area and Arnprior. Rogers plans to have LTE service available in another 21 markets by the end of 2012. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver will be added to the network this fall.
Roger beats competitors Telus Corp. and BCE Inc. to the LTE punch. Telus announced in April it would begin work on its LTE network for launch early next year. BCE’s Bell Mobility ALso said at the time it was testing LTE in the Montreal and Hamilton areas, but made no announcement about a commercial availability date.
In early June, Rogers executive vice-president and chief marketing officer John Boynton confirmed Rogers had been testing LTE technology in Ottawa and Montreal. “The network is ready,” he said at the time. He also announced that customers could pre-order a Rocket Stick. Those preorders are available now. The Rocket Stick is also available from Ottawa-area retail outlets.
Service is available on Rogers’s Flex Plan, starting at $45 per month for 1.5GB. Customers who go over 1.5GB will be automatically switched to a 9 GB plan for $90 per month, with a $10 penalty for every gigabyte beyond that.
The USB Rocket Stick was to be priced at $169.99, or $79.99 on a three-year term. Handsets will soon be available from Samsung Inc. and HTC Corp.; no pricing details were available.
Network World Canada assistant editor Howard Solomon is on location at Rogers’s Ottawa press conference and will file a comprehensive story after it concludes.
— With files from Howard Solomon