updated 12:15 pm EST, Thu February 19, 2009
Rogers 4G in Early 2010
(Updated with Rogers comment) Canadian provider Rogers is not only set to add 4G cellular service to its network but may make it the primary option for Internet access on its network, the company has reportedly said during a call. The company is said to have revealed that its Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network is ultimately ahead of schedule and that its first commercial service will be live with a Vancouver network ready by February 2010, or roughly the same timeframe as similar plans from rivals Bell and Telus as well as Verizon in the US. Much of the second-wave rollout would take place next spring, when the first cellphones using LTE should be ready. The initial Vancouver launch would include just a USB modem.
The company also reportedly promises fast downstream speeds in real conditions. A connection without any optimization produces about 50Mbps. Techniques to optimize the link would net about 70Mbps by the time the service is available.
Such speed currently outperforms Rogers' best cable Internet service and, according to the claim, would let the company gradually shift away from landline data altogether. The company is believed planning to unify its cable, cellular and pre-WiMAX Internet services into a single 4G-based platform and would expect its network to be large and reliable enough by summer 2010 to start moving cable users to 4G. As part of the move, the company would introduce mixed cable and 4G modems and will eventually leave cable solely as a wired backup.
The developments would put all major Canadian cellular carriers on the same network type next year and should increase competition by allowing owners of 4G phones and modems to switch services in the country without abandoning devices. It would also mark a very different path for Rogers than for American providers like Comcast, who are betting most of their future on 400,000 smartphones during the holidays alone, most of which were iPhone and BlackBerry devices focused on the web and e-mail.
Update: A Rogers spokesman claims the company was "involved in no such call," though it doesn't say which components of the story may or may not be accurate. Rogers is known to be moving to LTE regardless of reports and is likely to use HSPA+ as an intermediary step. [via BGR]