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Rogers aiming for first LTE network in Canada


Rogers Communications (NYSE:RCI) looks to be the first Canadian operator out of the gate with long-term evolution (LTE) networks. It announced Wednesday it would launch LTE mobile broadband networks in four major Canadian cities by the end of the year, expanding to 25 markets in 2012. Rogers tapped long-time network partner Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) for the job.

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Rogers will use its Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) spectrum for its initial rollout in Toronto, Ottowa, Vancouver and Montreal, but is exploring other bands. Rogers owns 2.5 GHz spectrum similar to those used by Clearwire in the U.S. and it uses those frequencies for fixed WiMAX, but according to TeleGeography, Telus can begin using that spectrum for mobile broadband this year. Rogers is also likely to participate in Canadaís 700 MHz auction. If it wins licenses it can deploy LTE in the same two sets of bands used by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) and eventually AT&T (NYSE:T), allowing it tap into those much bigger operators device ecosystems.

Ericsson has been a supplier to Rogers for 25 years, building all of its GSM and high-speed packet access (HSPA). That relationship remains unchanged for the new contract. Ericsson will be the sole supplier of radio and mobile core gear, installing its next-generation RBS 6000 base stations and upgrading Rogersí existing mobile core into an LTE evolved packet core (Briefing Room: Ericsson selected to build LTE network for Rogers). The operator and vendor didnít name a price tag for the deployment.

Telus (NYSE:TU) has said it plans to deploy LTE in 2012. Both it and its HSPA+ mutual roaming partner Bell Canada (NYSE:BCE) have deployed the latest generation of UMTS equipment, which may make it possible to support a direct upgrade to LTE if it stays in the AWS band.


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