September 24, 2011 9:19am
LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the next generation of data speeds, potentially giving customers download speeds of 150 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 70 Mbps. Canada is one of the first counties in the world to experience these speeds and both Rogers and Bell went live over the past couple months, other carriers will follow next year. Rogers is currently set up in Ottawa and will be launching Toronto on September 28th. Bell stepped up, bypassed Rogers, and set their LTE network in several Southern Ontario locations: Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph. The race is on for LTE dominance and no doubt who’ll be claiming to be the “fastest” and “most reliable” first.
Smartphones, “Superphones” and tablets are all coming, some that are top of mind are the LTE Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC Puccini and the Galaxy Tab 8.9. Currently the selection of devices are minimal, with only a couple internet sticks available. As expected with new technology, the strategy by both companies is to target the early adopter crowd, but this comes at a high price. The data price points start at $45/month for 1.5 GB and slightly increasing every GB thereafter.
In a recently poll we ran that asked “When LTE comes to your city will you buy?”, 54% of voters stated “No”, while 23% said “Yes”, 3% stated they still need a bit more education on what exactly LTE is. Finally, twenty percent of the voters are “undecided”, perhaps waiting for new devices or the prices to drop.
So how does LTE stack up in speed. Yesterday I grabbed hold of both internet sticks and did some speed tests. Rogers and Bell both sell the Sierra Wireless AirCard 313U and the weather in Toronto was a lovely rainstorm, which actually made for good testing. In addition, I traveled through the downtown core, both driving and stationary. It’s estimated that both Rogers and Bell have over 300 active LTE sites up. The Rogers LTE SIM was activated for testing in Toronto. Below are a number of tests from SpeetTest.net and a few videos of the results.