Rogers Wireless Inc. and Citrix Systems Inc. inked a deal last week that will see the two firms jointly offer wide area network access with applications based on Citrix’s MetaFrame Access Suite.

The applications would run over Rogers Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) network, which offers speeds of up to 200Kbps. EDGE access is available on Rogers wireless network across the country.

The target market for the two firms is enterprises with mobile workforces, says Mansell Nelson, vice-president and general manager of wireless enterprise solutions with Rogers Wireless.

“The challenge historically has been that there hasn’t been a wireless network that had the bandwidth to offer that ‘in the office’ kind of feel,” he explains. “Hotspots are great, but they’re not always where you need them. With the coverage we’ve got nationally now, somewhere near 93 per cent, we think this will be a great solution for the laptop or PDA user.”

The agreement is not exclusive. Citrix also has agreements with Bell Canada Inc. and Telus Corp. that combine Citrix applications with Bell’s and Telus’s Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) 1X high-speed wireless networks, which offer speeds comparable to Rogers’ EDGE.

In the fall, Rogers will be running a series of cross-country seminars speaking to customers about Rogers technologies and Citrix will be part of those seminars, notes David Hudon, national channel manager for Citrix. Enterprise demand for wireless applications has been hampered up to now by the slow speeds of the wireless networks, notes Iain Grant, managing director of consultancy Seaboard Group.

“We were all as an industry I think underwhelmed with the earlier wireless speeds,” he says. “It simply had the taste of promise, but no meat.”

EDGE and CDMA 1X technologies, which can crack the 100Kbps threshold, should change that, he says.