New Brunswickers finally have access to the latest in cellular service. But it hasn’t come from a Maritime provider.
Rogers Communications Inc. said Wednesday it has become the first carrier to bring LTE wireless service to the province, upgrading its network in Moncton.
Meanwhile there’s no word from Bragg Communications, owner of the Eastlink cable network, on when it will launch cellular service using the spectrum it bought in 2008.
Bragg paid about $3.3 million for AWS spectrum covering New Brunswick, where Eastlink has a small cable footprint. It also paid just over $4.6 million for spectrum covering its home province of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Exactly a year ago Eastlink said it would launch cellular service in 2012. Since then it has been silent on its start date.
Industry analysts believe that next to the Christmas period, August is an ideal time for a carrier to start new service because students about to return to schools and universities.
(This Samsung Gallaxy S III is one of the LTE handsets in Rogers’ lineup)
“Rogers is proud to be the first to launch LTE in Moncton,” Ken Marshall, Rogers regional president for Atlantic Canada, said in a news release. “New Brunswick is a priority for Rogers, as is all of Atlantic Canada, and we have invested $20 million in our wireless network in New Brunswick over the past two years.”
He also noted that Rogers is the only LTE carrier in Newfoundland.
Rogers, Telus Corp. and Bell Mobility continue to expand their LTE networks across the country. Earlier this month Telus said it has expanded its Vancouver-area network to Burnaby, New Westminster, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, and South Delta. In July Telus said its LTE coverage will extend to Halifax.
LTE is the latest generation in wireless data technology, with the potential of allowing download speeds of up to 100 Mpbs under ideal conditions on capable devices. By comparison, the more common and more broadly available HSPA+ networks offer maximum download speeds of 42 Mpbs under ideal conditions.
Rogers’ LTE network includes Halifax, St. John’s, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver.
By the end of this year Rogers plans to expand its LTE network across southern Ontario cities (including Niagara, Hamilton, Oshawa and Oakville), Quebec City, Regina, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Victoria.