Rogers Communications logo, used since 2015
Rogers Cantel AT&T
Rogers AT&T Wireless
|Mobile network operator|
|February 4, 1983|
Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien
|Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Dirk Woessner, president|
|iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone|
|LTE, UMTS (including HSPA), GSM (including SMS, GPRS, and EDGE)|
|$7.3 billion CAD (2013)|
Rogers Wireless is a Canadian wireless telephone company headquartered in Toronto, providing service nationally throughout Canada. It is Canada’s largest wireless carrier, with 10.274 million subscribers as of Q4 2016, and revenues of just under $7.3 billion in 2013. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications.
Rogers Wireless was founded by Ted Rogers, David Margolese, Marc Belzberg and Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien. In 1978, future Sirius XM Radio founder David Margolese dropped out of college and founded the paging company Canadian Telecom. Foreseeing that cellular wireless technology would be used for more than simply voice calls, Margolese proposed a plan to obtain a license for Canada’s cellular phone rights. At the time, there were no such licenses or commercial cellular services in existence, as the wireless technology was still in the laboratory and experimental. Needing significant financing, he approached Rogers Communications, which was owned by Ted Rogers, to partner with him. Rogers ultimately joined with Margolese, Marc Belzberg of First City Financial and Telemedia founder Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien to form Cantel, which Margolese named after Canadian Telecom. In 1984, the group was granted Canada’s national cellular license. Cantel launched service on July 1, 1985.
In 1986, Ted Rogers purchased a controlling stake in Cantel, which was at the time Canada’s only national supplier of cellular telephone service. Over the next four years, Rogers bought out his partners, becoming the sole owner of Cantel. Cantel was later renamed Cantel AT&T, Rogers Cantel AT&T and Rogers AT&T Wireless; in December 2003, the company became known by its current name, Rogers Wireless, which led to Rogers purchasing AT&T’s 34% stake in the company for $1.8 billion the following year.
The following is a list of known frequencies that Rogers employs in Canada:
|850 MHz CLR||5||UMTS/HSPA+ 21Mbit/s||3G||Active|
|1900 MHz PCS||2||UMTS/HSPA+ 21Mbit/s||3G||Active|
|700 MHz Lower A/B/C||12/17/13||LTE||4G||Currently Being Deployed||Additional LTE band for building penetration and rural coverage in select markets|
|1700/2100 MHz AWS||4||LTE||4G||Active||Main LTE band providing complete coverage|
|2600 MHz IMT-E||7||LTE||4G||Active||Additional LTE band for more bandwidth in select markets|
Since 2002, the company's 2G GSM network with EDGE has operated in Canada. It provides compatibility for GSM-based devices, including those frequently used by international travelers. However, this technology is limited to speeds up to 236 kilobits per second, which is only about four times the speed of dial-up.
Rogers is no longer increasing its GSM coverage footprint and has only committed to support its 2G GSM network until 2018. As of March 2017, the only parts of Canada covered by Rogers' GSM network, but not its HSPA network are in MacKenzie, BC and some rural areas on the edge of Rogers' coverage area.
In 2006, Rogers became the first Canadian carrier to operate a 3G HSPA network, which was upgraded to HSPA+ in 2009. Enhancements included download speeds of up to a theoretical 21 Mbit/s.
Rogers' HSPA+ network coverage is in all Canadian provinces and none of the territories and operating on 850 MHz.
It is impossible to travel between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts in Canada without encountering a gap in cellular coverage as there are areas lacking cellular coverage in both British Columbia and Ontario.
In July 2011, Rogers was the first Canadian telecom operator to launch a commercial long-term evolution (LTE) network. In May 2013, Rogers deployed LTE service on its 2600 MHz spectrum in some markets, which the company began marketing as "LTE Max". LTE Max is available in a fraction of Rogers' LTE coverage area. On April 17, 2014, Rogers launched LTE service on its 700 MHz spectrum.
Rogers has not announced its goals for expanding LTE coverage across Canada, but announced plans in June 2014 to have LTE coverage expanded to 98.3% of the population of British Columbia by the end of 2016.
According to Rogers, as of December 31, 2016, its LTE coverage reached 95% of the Canadian population.
On March 31, 2015, Rogers Wireless launched voice over LTE (VoLTE), the first carrier in Canada to offer this service.
Cat-6 LTE-Advanced has been available since January 2015, through carrier aggregation of band 4 and band 7, with a maximum download speed of 225Mbit/s.
On Demand Mobile
Customers with select smartphones, tablets, computers, LG Smart TVs, Xbox 360 and Xbox One gaming systems can use the Rogers On Demand mobile service, which was renamed Rogers Live before its current incarnation, Rogers Anyplace TV. Rogers Anyplace TV offers TV shows, movies and sports on demand.
In 2004, Rogers bought Canada’s first and, at the time, only other GSM provider, Fido, along with Fido’s partner, Sprint Canada, for a total of $1.4 billion. At the time, Fido had nearly 1.3 million customers. In 2008, Fido was rebranded as a discount network operator with a new logo and cheaper plans.
Rogers launched the Chatr Wireless brand in mid-2010 in response to the emergence of new phone carriers Mobilicity, Public Mobile, and Wind Mobile to directly compete with the new carriers in their coverage areas. Chatr became a cheaper option than Fido, making Fido more of a mid-range offering.
Rogers has its own corporate retail stores, known as Rogers Plus, and also allows third parties to become exclusive dealers. Best Buy and Walmart stores in Canada provide Fido products along with prepaid and postpaid services. Additionally, Loblaw Companies stores sell prepaid feature phones and top-up vouchers. Loblaw stores have a special booth, called The Mobile Shop, where the phones are displayed.
While Shoppers Drug Mart carried only Rogers Wireless prepaid phones at one time, the stores temporarily partnered with Rogers. As a result, Shoppers stores added both prepaid and postpaid products and services for Rogers and its two other brands, Fido and Chatr. As of March 2011, however, Shoppers stores ended their partnership. They only sell prepaid top-up vouchers for these providers.
Text messaging charges
On July 7, 2009, Rogers Wireless began charging a nominal fee for incoming text messages to customers without a text messaging plan. The change was similar to policies of charging for incoming text message that were adopted in August 2008 by Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility. Some users complained that Rogers had unilaterally changed the terms of their contracts. The company maintained that changes to services and fees are permitted in the "terms of service" document.
Government Regulatory Recovery Fee
Rogers has been criticized for its Government Regulatory Recovery Fee (GRRF), formerly known as the System Access Fee (SAF). The fee ranges between $1.93 to $3.35 per month. On July 4, 2012, Rogers announced it would no longer be charging a separate GRRF fee to new customers, instead raising the price of the Monthly Service Charge. The bills of existing customers would remain the same. An $18 billion class action lawsuit against Rogers, Bell and Telus, originally filed in a Saskatchewan court in 2004 regarding these fees, is pending.
Rogers launched the Chatr brand with low-end feature phones and pricing plans similar to that of new entrants such as Wind Mobile, Mobilicity and Public Mobile. Chatr was criticized for being a fighter brand created by Rogers. The brand's "fewer dropped calls" claim was disputed by the Competition Bureau. In 2013, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that Chatr's advertising of fewer dropped calls, in connection with its 2010 launch, was fair and accurate.