updated 12:10 pm EDT, Thu July 7, 2011
Rogers LTE starts in Ottawa first
Rogers on Thursday started up its LTE network with first service in Canada's capital of Ottawa. The service can hit theoretical peaks of 75Mbps on current devices and is expected to more than double Verizon's speeds on its own 4G network at between 12Mbps to 25Mbps. The speed is fast enough that Rogers has suggested users could stream high quality HD video and use it for console-level multiplayer gaming or a videoconferencing robot like the Vgo (below).
Speeds should get up to 150Mbps once higher-spec LTE hardware is available, Rogers said.
The existing strategy will focus on a Sierra Wireless USB modem, rebadged as the LTE Rocket Stick, that will cost $79 on a three-year contract. HTC and Samsung are also promising smartphones, likely Android-based, for the fall. Tablets and other phone makers will come later, according to Rogers.
The carrier's Rob Bruce was asked at a live event about the prospects of iPads, iPhones, and BlackBerrys on the LTE network but deflected the questions. "You'll have to ask Steve [Jobs]" about plans for iOS hardware, he said. Many expect Apple to have LTE-based mobile devices in 2012. RIM had been "making some noise" about LTE.
Concerns nonetheless exist about the price of the service, which compares relatively poorly next to Verizon's newly introduced capped plans. Service is based on a flex-rate strategy that costs a minimum $45 a month for 1.5GB of data and jumps to $60 for 3GB of data. Service peaks at $90 for 9GB of transfers and costs $10 for each gigabyte over the top tier.
Bruce acknowledged concerns over the caps, which with an HD stream could break the cap in 1.5 hours. Some things are best used on wired access, he said. He also hinted that the data caps would go up over time as data use increases.