updated 09:10 am EDT, Tue July 28, 2009
Rogers 21Mbps HSPA Plus
Rogers on Tuesday became the first North American cellular carrier to start deploying HSPA+ on its 3G network. A gradual rollout will bring the Canadian provider's network up to the standard's peak download rates 21Mbps, or about three times the speed of its existing 7.2Mbps network. While unstated, the network should also provide upstream speeds of up to 5.76Mbps in peak conditions.
The combined speed is enough that performance on the improved 3G should feel more like a home landline connection, Rogers claims. Actual speeds will likely be significantly lower but should still be within the multi-megabit range in both directions.
HSPA+ will be available in August but comes first to Rogers' largest market, the greater Toronto area. It should move "quickly" to other larger cities in the next few months. Rogers hasn't said whether it will increase the data caps for these users, but a change may be necessary as the company's most expensive service offers just 5GB for $80 per month; a more typical plan provides just 1GB for $30.
In the US, AT&T has promised HSPA+ sometime this year but has yet to signal that it's getting close to this deployment. The move mostly requires a software upgrade but may depend on finally adding 850MHz 3G to major cities like New York and San Francisco, where heavy iPhone activity has rendered the much narrow 1,900MHz 3G spectrum all but unusable. Such an upgrade may not be completed for several months.