Cell Canada

Canadian Cellular Industry News, Insight, & Noise

Posts Tagged ‘Rogers’

Globalive – New Canadian Wireless Carriers Series

Posted by Gary on February 3, 2009

Here at Cell Canada, we’ve had a great deal of interest in the new Canadian Cellular Carriers.  Questions about their service launch dates, technology, pricing, and monthly service plans.  Starting with Globalive, we are starting a series where we will summarize and infer what we can to help answer these questions and more.

Globalive

Owner: Orascom out of Egypt has majority ownership but Globalive has controlling interest to meet Canadian foreign ownership regulations.  What does this mean?  It’s Orascom’s money and they are in charge.  Good for competition in Canada.  Orascom has about 80 million cellular customers worldwide with properties in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.  That’s more than all of the existing Canadian cellular carriers (Bell, Telus, and Rogers) combined.  They will not be muscled out or outspent by the incumbent Canadian carriers.

Management: Globalive is still building it’s management team.  At the date of this article, active recruiting is underway for several ‘C’ level roles.  The key CEO role is in place however.  Ken Campbell is a Canadian with a great deal of experience with start up wireless carriers in Eastern Europe.

Marketing and Brand:  Expect a no-frills consumer brand.  The betting line to date is on ‘Yak Mobile’.  Noticeably, Yak has shut down its www.yakmobile.com web site.  In advance of a launch later in the year?

Technology: Globalive will be launching the current revision of the GSM technology train.  Expect UMTS and HSPA technology similar to what Rogers has currently deployed.

Plans: Expect innovative, for Canada, low end plans: $10/month, $15/month, etc. and potentially text only plans.  The recent moves by Koodo, Solo, and Fido to offer $15 plans with no system access fees are a clear indication of the incumbent Canadian cellular carriers re-positioning their brands to protect their soft flanks – where they expect the new carriers to enter.

Phones:  Of course we don’t know specifics of phones that will arrive a year from now but what we can infer is that given their strong buying power (Orascom’s 80 million customers) and targeting of the low end of the market, Globalive – or Yak Mobile – will probably offer basic feature phones and low end smartphones.  Expect some unique phones, perhaps more Nokia and other low end feature phones that we haven’t seen in the market to any great degree under the Bell, Rogers, and Telus umbrellas.  Also expect that with their buying power, they will get some interesting phones in advance of the incumbent Canadian carriers.

When:  Globalive is already building network in the major Canadian cities where it has licenses.  There is a lot of work to get a mobile carrier business started and offering services.  Network is one aspect but OSS systems, distribution channel, etc. all take time to put into place.  Expect a launch in late 4th quater 2009 to 1st quarter 2010.

Hope this answers some of your questions.  Feel free to add anything that you may have learned about Globalive’s plans in the Comments section.

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Blackberry Storm to Launch Exclusively on Telus in Canada

Posted by Gary on October 8, 2008

Blackberry Storm

Blackberry Storm

Telus has their Blackberry Storm teaser page up.  It’s identified as an ‘exclusive’ and thus implies that we will not be seeing the Storm on Rogers or Bell at launch.  Quite the sweep by Telus given the expected corporate and consumer interest in the device.  However we expect that the use of the term ‘exclusive’ may apply to the EVDO/HSPA model versus the pure HSPA model (‘exclusive’ on Rogers).

Here’s the page: http://promo.telusmobility.com/storm/

Here’s the Vodafone page with more graphics and a specification sheet: http://blackberry.vodafone.co.uk/storm/

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Blackberry Thunder / Storm Release Date and Other Rumours

Posted by Gary on September 9, 2008

Verizon Blackberry Storm Box from Engadget

Verizon Blackberry Storm Box from Engadget

The Blogsphere is brimming with speculation on the upcoming Blackberry Thunder. 

 

A quick recent rumour mill summary:

  • It will be called the Blackberry Storm 9530 on Verizon
  • It will be called the Blackberry Thunder on Rogers and Vodafone
  • It will be exclusive to Rogers in Canada
  • Telus will also carry it in Canada. (Yes, conflicting rumours)
  • It is ready for prime time and expected out on Verizon in October
  • The user interface and OS is still buggy and it will be delayed into November
  • It will include Wi-Fi
  • It will not include Wi-Fi
  • The touch keyboard: haptic feedback, full Qwerty in landscape, and Suretype in portrait
  • 8 GB microSD included.  Raising hopes of strong multimedia capabilities

Of the rumours to date on the Storm/Thunder, a few things stand out for us. 

1. World phone.  CDMA/EVDO and UMTS/HSPA in one piece of hardware spells bulk.  Good for CDMA players and their business customers but a handicap when compared to pure UMTS/HSPA devices.

2. No Wi-Fi.  If this is true, then it will be a significant liability relative to other new smartphones such as the iPhone.  The majority of the average user’s time is spent in home and work environments that can support much faster speeds via Wi-Fi.  Wi-Fi for speed and EVDO/HSPA for coverage appears to be a reasonable approach taken by other smartphone vendors.

3. Battery life.  Heavy users, especially business users, need their device to work all the time.  Time is money etc.  It will take more battery than a traditional Blackberry to power the big screen.  More battery implies more bulk.

4. Keyboard, keyboard, keyboard.  Blackberry’s are highly regarded, rightfully so, for having fantastic keyboards.  They keyboard will make or break this Blackberry.  No doubt, great Exchange integration, rock solid reliability, and enterprise grade security have all contributed to the RIM’s success and should be expected on the Storm / Thunder but without a novel writing worthy keyboard, this Blackberry only will fall into line with the other ‘average’ business smartphones.

We are longtime Blackberry fans and are hopeful and excited about the launch of this device.  If the keyboard is close to as good as a traditional Blackberry hard keyboard, then we will forgive the bulk.  Though maybe not the lack of Wi-Fi.

UPDATEThe Blackberry Thunder on Video

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Rogers Listens – Updates Data Plans for the iPhone, Bold, & N95

Posted by Gary on August 29, 2008

For those eager for an iPhone or Bold, Rogers has rolled out an update on it’s data plans that deserves some attention.  The plans are reasonably globally competitive and compared to the original Rogers data plans pre-consumer backlash, they are wins for Canadian consumers. 

Even more importantly, Rogers has taken smart steps to derisk the data purchase.  Rogers will now not charge for the first three months on a data plan to help consumers see reporting on their usage levels and then select the optimum plan.  As well, they have placed a $100 cap on excess usage.  Providing a limit on risk or unknown exposure to charges that has left consumers burned and wary in the past.  Both very smart moves addressing two major data plan barriers to entry for consumer.

We are still fans of the $30 6GB plan.  Sign up now.  It will disappear at the end of September and we will not see anything similar until late 2009/early 2010 when the new entrants begin to enter the market.

Price Original 2008 Pre-Iphone Market Response Restructured
$15 2MB 2MB N/A 2MB
$25 4MB 4MB N/A 500MB
$30 N/A 300MB 6GB 1GB
$50 N/A 500MB N/A 2GB
$60 30 MB 1GB N/A 3GB
$80 500MB 3GB N/A 8GB
$100 1GB 6GB N/A N/A

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Student Cell Phone Plan Deals

Posted by Gary on August 25, 2008

Back To School Student Cell Phone Plans are summarized very well by Firestorm on RedFlagDeals.com. 

Though most of these are better deals than standard market plans, they still pale when compared to corporate plans and employee purchase plans that can be acquired with a bit of homework.  Also, as we recommend in 10 Tips for Saving on Your Cell Phone Bill, ensure that you compare at a total bill level.  Many of the plans below require another $15 for Caller ID and Voicemail, or have similar expensive basic bolt-ons that drive up their price by $10/month to $30/month for most people.

Firestorm’s summary:

                                                                            

Rogers
Not listed on website.

Add these to ANY plan as long as you’re a student:
Evenings start at 6PM for free for 3 years
Home Calling Zone for $5 off/month for 3years
If you sign up for 3 years with $15 or $20 Value Pack, you get $5 off each month for 3 years [remember, $15 value pack includes unlimited web browsing and $100 off any vision phone]

$25 + $6.95 + $0.50 + tax
100 Weekday Minutes
1000 Evening/Weekend Minutes starting at 9pm
500 Incoming Minutes
My5 + 5 (so 10) Local

$45 + $6.95 + $0.50 tax
450 Weekday Minutess
Unlimited Evening/Weekend Minutes starting at 9pm
Unlimited Incoming Minutes
My5 + 5 (so 10) Canada-Wide

Telus
$35 + $6.95 + 0.75 + tax
200 Weekday Minutes
Unlimited Evening/Weekend Minutes starting at 6pm
MyFaves 10 Canada-Wide
Unlimited Web Browsing on PCS devices (not smartphones)

$50 + $6.95 + 0.75 + tax
200 Weekday Minutes
Unlimited Evenings/Weekend Minutes starting at 6pm
MyFaves 10 Canada-Wide
Unlimited Web Browsing, E-mail (PDA smartphones and blackberries only), and Instant Messaging

Bell

$25 + $8.95 + $0.75 + tax
100 Local anytime minutes
Unlimited local calling and texting with 10 numbers
Unlimited local night and weekend (9 p.m. – 7 a.m.)
Call Waiting, Conference Calling

$35 + $8.95 + $0.75 + tax
250 Local anytime minutes
Unlimited local night and weekend (9 p.m. – 7 a.m.)
Unlimited local and Canadian long distance calling and text messaging to your 10 favourite numbers
500 sent and unlimited received picture and video messages
Call Waiting, Conference Calling

$45 + $8.95 + $0.75 + tax
350 + 100 Local anytime minutes
Unlimited local night and weekend (6pm – 7am.)
Unlimited local and Canadian long distance calling and text messaging to your 10 favourite numbers
500 sent and unlimited received picture and video messages
Call Display, Message Centre Express, Call Waiting, Conference Calling

(DEAD) $40 + $8.95 + 0.75 + tax
250 Weekday Minutes
100 Canadian Long Distance Minutes
Unlimited Evening/Weekend Minutes starting at 9 PM
Unlimited Local Incoming Calls
Unlimited Mobile Browsing in Core Network areas (100 minutes in other areas)
Call Display

Virgin
$35 + tax: myCrew 35

* 200 Anytime Minutes
* Unlimited Evening and Weekend Calling Starting at 7pm
* Unlimited Nationwide Talk and Text to 5 Buddies
* Bonus – Get 5 Extra Buddies for 10 in total
* No System Access Fee, No Activation Fee

$45 + tax: myCrew 45

* 400 Anytime Minutes
* Unlimited Evening and Weekend Calling Starting at 7pm
* Unlimited Nationwide Talk and Text to 5 Buddies
* Bonus – Get 5 Extra Buddies for 10 in total
* No System Access Fee, No Activation Fee
Limited Time myTimeTM Bonus

Want unlimited 9-5 calling? Now you can get 8 hours of unlimited daily calling with myTimeTM.

$35 + tax: myTime 35

* 200 Anytime Minutes
* Unlimited Calling within the daily 6-hour calling block
* Unlimited Calling all day Saturday and Sunday
* Bonus – Get 2 Extra hours for a total 8-hour calling block
* No System Access Fee, No Activation Fee

$45 + tax: myTime 45

* 400 Anytime Minutes
* Unlimited Calling within the daily 6-hour calling block
* Unlimited Calling all day Saturday and Sunday
* Bonus – Get 2 Extra hours for a total 8-hour calling block
* No System Access Fee, No Activation Fee

                                                                              

 Anyone find additional student / back to school cell phone deals?

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Blackberry Bold Released

Posted by Gary on August 6, 2008

The much anticipated Blackberry Bold has been released in Chile with Movistar.  It appears that it will miss the expected August 6th date with Rogers but it should be available soon in Canada.

 

I suspect that these interative delays for the Bold in Canada are based on carrier testing iterations with RIM.  It’s common for carriers to exhaustively test devices before releasing them for sale.  Every carrier has a slightly different network configuration and different issues may be found by different carriers.  The handset manufacturers iterate resolution of these issues with the carriers until the handset is deemed to be green lighted for release.  At this late stage, the issues are usually very minor but at the same time, carriers want to avoid expensive customer service calls and will push to resolve as many issues as possible before releasing a device.

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GSM in Canada: Bell, Telus & The New AWS Carriers

Posted by Gary on August 6, 2008

Canada is soon to be flush with GSM technology based carriers.  This, along with the upcoming significant increase in new carriers born out of the AWS auction, is great news for Canadian mobile consumers. 

The mobile industry, like many technology driven industries, is a global industry.  Global demand and market share dictate priorities for research and development expenditures.  GSM has taken a significant lead in global market share over CDMA technology.  This lead has grown from 55% global market share for GSM in the year 2000 to over 85% of global market share in the year 2006.  A good amount of this growth has come as fast growing mobile markets such as China and India have chosen the GSM standard over CDMA.  The last remanants of CDMA carriers, primarily those in North America and South Korea have begun to indicate that they will be moving over to GSM technology standards in their next set of network evolution investment.  In fact, evolution of the CDMA technology has been effectively halted after the release of EVDO Rev.B.  The outstanding question for most CDMA carriers is whether they wait and suffer competitively relative to GSM carriers for two or three years until GSM 4G LTE technology is commercially available in 2010/2011 or whether they undertake a significantly capital intensive two step approach and move to UMTS, 3G GSM, now and then step to LTE in 2011/2012/2013.

In the USA, Verizon has publicly stated that it will be shifting to the GSM technology camp by overbuilding its network with LTE as soon as it is commercially available.  In Canada, it is well known in the industry that Telus and Bell have issued a joint RFP for UMTS and are currently field trialing the technology from the four short listed vendors.  They will certainly move to GSM technology though whether they do it in two steps, UMTS first then LTE, or in one step, wait for LTE, is not known. 

The new AWS auction based cellular carrier entrants; Shaw, Videotron, Bragg, DAVE, and Globalive, will all certainly come to market with UMTS based services, starting sometime in late 2009.  Initially, as they build out their networks, they will offer services delivered via resale of the Rogers UMTS network.

What does this mean for consumers? 

For one thing, this means that Rogers will no longer have technology based exclusives on the best phones.  Hot new devices such as the iPhone, Blackberry Bold, etc. will be available on all networks at once – whether through the locked phone market or the unlocked phone market.  This loss of GSM phone exclusivity will force better handset and plan offers from Rogers otherwise they will risk losing customers to the other carriers.  As we discussed in 10 Tips For Saving on Your Cell Phone Bill, it is best to avoid 3-year contracts that lock you into high prices in advance of the upcoming increased competition. 

Additionally consumers will be able to change phones by simply moving their SIM to a new phone.  As in Europe and Asia, there will be a competitive aftermarket for unlocked GSM phones on the North American spectrum blocks. 

A similar benefit in reverse is the ability to keep your physical phone but purchase a temporary in-country SIM when travelling to avoid roaming costs.  We discuss tips for saving on roaming in 10 Tips for Saving on Your Cell Phone Bill as well.

At Cell Canada, we are very excited about finally getting competitive access to some of the best phones in the world at dramatically better phone and plan pricing.  Bring on the Nokia N96, the Blackberry Bold, the Apple iPhone, Sony Ericsson Xperia1, and the other upcoming great phones with plans on any of six carriers in our local market.

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Update – Rogers Blackberry Bold Release Date

Posted by Gary on July 28, 2008

Quick update to our previous story (Rogers Blackberry Bold Canadian Release Date) about the Canadian release date for the Blackberry Bold. 

We’ve learned from another Rogers contact that they expect promotional material for the Blackberry Bold this week – the week of July 28th – and plan to have the Bold on sale next week.  Fits well with our previous story indicating a release date of August 6th.

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Rogers Blackberry Bold Canadian Release Date

Posted by Gary on July 22, 2008

We just received an update on the Rogers release date for the Blackberry Bold in Canada.  As we discussed in our earlier post on the Bold, Apple Iphone Vs. Blackberry Bold, the Bold is expected to be a strong competitor in the smartphone space, especially for customers with a need for heavy email and BES integration. 

For all of you waiting for the Bold, our moles inside Rogers have told us that it will launch in Canada on August 6th.  I’m sure we will see marketing and promotion in advance of the 6th. 

For you Blackberry fans, rest your thumbs…

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Competition in Canadian Cellular – New Carriers Are Coming

Posted by Gary on July 17, 2008

Lost in the excitement of the iPhone launch, the Rogers data plan backlash and the Telus and Bell profit grab has been the news that there will soon be two to three new carriers in each market. These will compete for cellular customers against the incumbents Telus, Bell and Rogers.

This good news for consumers comes as the federal government’s process for awarding new cellular spectrum licenses approaches completion.

Industry Canada initiated an auction for new cellular spectrum this year that set aside part of the spectrum for non-incumbent carriers. The auction is almost complete and the resulting new landscape is becoming evident. 

Likely beginning in late 2009 to early 2010, each market in Canada will see the emergence of two to three new carriers.

The incumbent cable companies will begin to offer cellular service in their cable territories: Shaw in the West, Videotron in Quebec and parts of Ontario and Bragg in Atlantic Canada. In addition, Globalive will offer service in most parts of Canada outside of Quebec and a company called DAVE will offer service in large and medium sized cities in Ontario and Western Canada.

The incumbent cellular carriers will prepare well to defend against the new entrants through strategies such as using their flanker brands Fido (Rogers), Solo (Bell), and Koodo (Telus) to take away market opportunity, and by enticing customers into long term contracts. 

The new entrants however will still change the dynamic of the market. The strength of the incumbents in the market and the high cost of both the spectrum and network build will force the new entrants, especially the non-cable company entrants, to enter the market aggressively or risk an early demise.

The new entrants are all expected to build GSM technology networks, and Telus and Bell are rumored to be considering a conversion to GSM technology. From a consumer perspective, this means that, as in Europe and other regions, consumers will not have to change their phone every time they want to change carriers. As well, Rogers, by virtue of its GSM network, will no longer have a monopoly on GSM-only phones such as the iPhone.

Additional carrier choice, a single network technology and an aggressive approach to market share should bring better pricing and offers for consumers.

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