Two months ago it was predicted that 4G wireless service would be hitting Canada by 2013 at the absolute earliest. It seems this prediction was a tad off as Rogers has announced that they will be launching LTE (which is a form of 4G) services in four major Canadian cities within the year.
The service will be launching in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa but no launch date beyond “this year” has been specified. Rogers plans to roll it out to the rest of Canada but again no time frame has been mentioned (and Rogers reps don’t seem to know either.)
Along with the announcement Rogers has created a website called IWantMyLTE.ca, which is advertised as “a website where you can learn about Rogers LTE network and share your excitement for LTE.” In reality the site simply allows you to sign up for e-mail updates on when the service is coming to various cities across Canada and click a few social media buttons.
The service itself is advertised to: “Stream movies instantly on a tablet with virtually no delays or buffering, experience a revolution in wireless mult-iplayer real-time online gaming, conduct wireless group video conferences in real-time, with virtually no lag time and access data-intensive business applications while on the go.” That all sounds great and incredibly useful to many Canadians but I have a simple little issue that I hope Rogers solves…
A single Netflix movie uses upwards of 2 gigs of data. Sure, you’ll be able to stream these movies in real time but you’ll kill your data plan within a matter of hours. If Rogers wants customers to get excited about LTE they have to create plans that can handle the huge amount of data that LTE will be processing at high speeds. Some kind of American style unlimited plan would be great but I doubt that would happen. Instead plans that allow unlimited use or time based use of some of the services might suffice. For example Rogers could create a ‘Netflix’ plan that will allow you to watch 20 hours of movies per month or something similar.
Rogers may be the first to innovate in terms of the technology here in Canada but if they can’t figure out a plan that makes it realistic I doubt Canadians will get very excited about it.
Rogers may be first but other companies will be catching up pretty quickly. Public Mobile has had training materials mentioning LTE since their inception and both Telus and Bell have plans for 4G networks within the next few years.