The service is based on the third-generation (3G) Universal Mobile Telephone System – High Speed Downlink Packet Access (UMTS-HSDPA).Rogers Wireless hasn’t announced any rollout plans beyond its initial trial phase, but the carrier’s executive vice-president and chief technology officer, Bob Berner, said the service should be available in major Canadian cities starting as early as next year.
“The variation (of UMTS) we’re deploying is the next thing that’s coming,” Berner said.
Ericsson Canada is supplying the necessary radio network controlling gear and UMTS switching hardware.
Rogers will continue to support its existing 2G and 2.5G networks for the foreseeable future, said Berner, but anticipates customers will choose services with faster transfer rates.
Rogers’ chief rival in the cell phone market, Bell Canada, is already testing 1X Evolution Data Only (1X-EVDO) over its network in the Toronto area.
Bell’s service is comparable to the network that Rogers is proposing, said Brian Sharwood, an analyst in the Toronto office of the SeaBoard Group.
Where Rogers is ahead of the game is with its announcement that it is developing an IP Multimedia System (IMS), which would let various devices migrate from network to network without the user manually making the switch. The device, like a phone or laptop, could run off Wi-Fi, cellular, fixed wireless or whatever network is convenient at the time.
“Internet Protocol control through this platform represents the glue between the services layer of the network and the transport layer, providing common functionality and service delivery regardless of the access methodology,” said Mark Henderson, president and CEO of Ericsson Canada.
Rogers is in an enviable position, said Sharwood, since it has a wireless network, a cable network and the fibre network it acquired when it bought Sprint Canada.
“They’re not really protecting a wireline legacy,” Sharwood said. “They are actually in a unique position from almost any carrier in the world.”

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