Rogers Communications’ Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband network is now live in Ottawa, over a network built in partnership with Ericsson, offering data services via the LTE ‘Rocket’ USB modem (Sierra Wireless AirCard 313U). The 4G network, the first of its kind to offer commercial services in Canada, currently covers an area from Arnprior, Ontario in the west to Orleans, Ontario in the east and also includes the Hull and Gatineau regions of Quebec. Rogers is promising maximum data speeds of up to 75Mbps (download), with typical downstream speeds of 12Mbps-25Mbps. LTE delivers significantly lower latency than 3G technologies, better facilitating highly interactive applications such as multi-player gaming and rich multimedia communications. As device availability evolves (LTE-enabled smartphones from Samsung and HTC will be available to Rogers’ users later this year) maximum theoretical speeds will increase to up to 150Mbps, and Rogers intends to expand LTE to a further 21 markets by the end of 2012.
Those signing up to LTE with the Rocket stick device must pay a one-off fee of CAD79.99 (USD83) with a three-year hardware discount agreement (or CAD169.99 no-term). The modem has maximum speed capability of 100Mbps/50Mbps (down/upload) and also gives access to tri-band HSPA+/quad-band EDGE for connectivity on Rogers’ HSPA+ network and roaming in over 190 countries. Each month the ‘LTE Flex Rate’ plan begins at the lowest price tier, then automatically adjusts based on actual data usage, while an introductory offer means subscribers will incur no monthly service fee or overage charges for their first two months. Monthly plans are as follows: CAD45 (1.5GB), CAD60 (3GB), CAD75 (6GB) and CAD90 (9GB). For the top-tier plan, if usage is greater than 9GB, CAD10 per additional GB will be charged. In addition a government regulatory recovery fee is charged at CAD1.93 to CAD2.93 a month (varies by province). All plans also allow unlimited social networking website usage.
Rogers’ LTE services, using the 2100MHz wireless spectrum band, will also be available later this year in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and will be extended to Canada’s top 25 markets by the end of 2012, with additional expansion expected to be based on 700MHz frequencies following the country’s upcoming auction of digital dividend spectrum.