Rogers Communications, after announcing plans in April to launch LTE service in several Canadian markets, is finally putting its money where its mouth is. The highly-anticipated service was launched in the Ottawa market on Thursday, but it’s going to cost those who want to use it a pretty penny.
According to a report from The Financial Post, a USB “stick” that will connect laptops to the Web wirelessly will be the first device Rogers offers that incorporates the technology. The stick will cost $79.99 on a three-year contract or $169.99 with no contract. Smartphones from providers HTC and Samsung are expected to be released in the fall.
Ottawa is the first among four major markets this year where Rogers will launch the new network, with Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to follow suit. A Rogers statement said that another twenty five Canadian markets will be covered by the end of 2012.
“LTE” or “Long-Term Evolution technology“ delivers mobile broadband at speeds several times faster than so-called 3G technology, which is the highest standard used by chief rivals Bell Mobility and Telus. Rogers already has a leg up on the two rivals, as Bell and Telus are not expected to launch LTE services until early next year. Lesser-known players in Canada’s mobile market like Mobilicity and Videotron are not expected to go to LTE any time in the near future, but there is speculation that Western Canada’s Shaw Communications Inc. (which has no wireless product to date) may enter the fray.
Despite the increased speeds, the increased pricing that goes with it could be the determining factor on how widely adopted LTE is in Canada. Rogers’ pricing on the new service is as follows:
$45/month = 1.5 gigabytes of data
$90/month = 9 gigabytes of data
Verizon Wireless, which is launching LTE in U.S. markets now, charges $50 for 5 GB of data per month, over three times the data that Rogers allows on its lower-tiered plan, and for only $5 more per month.
Update: Chris Clarke from Rogers Communications, has added further clarification on pricing below in the comments, and it reads as follows:
1.5GB – $45 If usage is greater than 1.5 GB, the next tier will be charged