Rogers Wireless

Rogers Wireless
Formerly called
Cantel AT&T
Rogers Cantel AT&T
Rogers AT&T Wireless
Industry Mobile network operator
Founded February 4, 1983[1]
Founder David Margolese
Ted Rogers
Marc Belzberg
Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario
Key people
Robert Bruce, president
Products iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone
Services LTE, UMTS (including HSPA), GSM (including SMS, GPRS, and EDGE)
Revenue $7.3 billion CAD (2013)[2]
Number of employees
5,287 (2004)
Parent AT&T Corporation (1983-2004)
Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (2004-present)

Rogers Wireless is a Canadian wireless telephone company headquartered in Toronto, providing service nationally throughout Canada. It is Canada’s largest wireless carrier, with 10.143 million subscribers as of Q3 2016,[3] and revenues of just under $7.3 billion in 2013.[2] It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications Canada.[4]

Rogers Wireless logo prior to 2015 redesign


Rogers Wireless was founded by David Margolese, Ted Rogers, Marc Belzberg and Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien.[1] In 1978, future Sirius XM Radio founder David Margolese dropped out of college and founded the paging company Canadian Telecom.[5] Foreseeing that cellular wireless technology would be used for more than simply voice calls,[1] Margolese proposed a plan to obtain a license for Canada’s cellular phone rights.[5] 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.[1] Needing significant financing, he approached Rogers Communications, which was owned by Ted Rogers, to partner with him.[1][5] Rogers ultimately joined with Margolese, Marc Belzberg of First City Financial and Telemedia founder Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien to form Cantel,[1] which Margolese named after Canadian Telecom.[6] In 1984, the group was granted Canada’s national cellular license.[1] Cantel launched service on July 1, 1985.[7]

In 1986, Ted Rogers purchased a controlling stake in Cantel, which was at the time Canada’s only national supplier of cellular telephone service.[8] Over the next four years, Rogers bought out his partners, becoming the sole owner of Cantel.[9] 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,[1] which led to Rogers purchasing AT&T’s 34% stake in the company for $1.8 billion the following year.[10][11]


Rogers operates HSPA+, long-term evolution (LTE) networks in all of Canada's provinces and offers roaming in Canada's territories.[12]

The following is a list of known frequencies that Rogers employs in Canada:

Frequencies used on the Rogers Network
Frequency range Band number Protocol Class Status Notes
850 MHz CLR 5 UMTS/HSPA+ 21Mbit/s 3G Active[13]
1900 MHz PCS 2 UMTS/HSPA+ 21Mbit/s 3G Active[13]
700 MHz Lower A/B/C 12 LTE 4G Currently Being Deployed[14] Additional LTE band for building penetration and rural coverage in select markets
1700/2100 MHz AWS 4 LTE 4G Active[13] Main LTE band providing complete coverage
2600 MHz IMT-E 7 LTE 4G Active[13] Additional LTE band for more bandwidth in select markets


Since 2002, the company's 2G GSM network with EDGE has operated in Canada.[11][12] 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 is planning on shutting down its GSM network in 2018.[15] As of November 2015, the only parts of Canada covered by Rogers' GSM network, but not its HSPA network are in Tofino, BC, MacKenzie, BC, and Kapuskasing, ON.[16]


In 2006, Rogers became the first Canadian carrier to operate a 3G HSPA network, which was upgraded to HSPA+ in 2009.[17][18] Enhancements included download speeds of up to a theoretical 21 Mbit/s.[19]

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.[20]


In July 2011, Rogers was the first Canadian telecom operator to launch a commercial long-term evolution (LTE) network.[21] 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.[12] On April 17, 2014, Rogers launched LTE service on its 700 MHz spectrum.[22]

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.[23]

According to Rogers, as of September 30, 2015, its LTE coverage reached 92% of the Canadian population.[3]

On March 31, 2015, Rogers Wireless launched voice over LTE (VoLTE),[24] 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.[25]


Rogers Wireless carries feature phones and smartphones made by Apple, BlackBerry, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony.[26] Rogers Wireless also sells mobile internet devices.[27]

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.[28][29][30]



Main article: Fido Solutions

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.[31] In 2008, Fido was rebranded as a discount network operator with a new logo and cheaper plans.[32]


Main article: Chatr

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.[33][34]

Retail presence

Fido and Rogers phones at Zellers.

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.

Former retailers

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.[35] 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.[36]

Government Regulatory Recovery Fee

Main article: System access 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.[37] An $18 billion class action lawsuit against Rogers, Bell and Telus, originally filed in a Saskatchewan court in 2004 regarding these fees, is pending.[38]

Anticompetitive tactics

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.[33] 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.[39]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Caroline Van Hasselt, High Wire Act: Ted Rogers and the Empire That Debt Built, Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons, 2008, chapter 12.
  2. 1 2 Rogers Communications Reports Fourth Quarter 2013 Results
  3. 1 2 Rogers Communications Reports Third Quarter 2015 Results
  4. “Rogers Communications Inc. Company Profile”. Yahoo! Finance. Accessed May 21, 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 Bethany McLean, “Satellite Killed the Radio Star,” Fortune, January 22, 2001.
  6. Van Hasselt, High Wire Act: Ted Rogers and the Empire That Debt Built, chapter 12, p. 223.
  7. Iain Marlow, “A phone so big it came with its own luggage,” The Globe and Mail, July 2, 2010.
  8. Brian Banks, “Cantel buy gets Rogers into telecommunications,” Ottawa Citizen, June 4, 1986.
  9. “Rogers Communications Inc. History,” Accessed May 12, 2003.
  10. “AT&T Wireless Moves to Sell Stake in Rogers Communications,” Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2004.
  11. 1 2 “A look at wireless milestones,” The Globe and Mail, July 2, 2010.
  12. 1 2 3 “Coverage to the max,” Accessed May 21, 2013.
  13. 1 2 3 4
  14. Verizon’s 2G and 3G CDMA networks to be phased out by 2021
  15. Network Coverage
  16. Ian Hardy, “Rogers HSPA+ announcement: ‘Bell is not concerned’,” Mobile Syrup, August 3, 2009.
  17. “Rogers expands HSPA coverage,” TeleGeography, October 17, 2007.
  18. “Bell’s new cellphone network launches Wednesday,” CBC News, November 2, 2009.
  19. Rogers LTE Network | The New Speed of Life | Rogers
  20. Iain Marlow, “Rogers powers up LTE wireless network,” The Globe and Mail, July 7, 2011.
  21. "Rogers flips the switch on 700 MHz spectrum to deliver the ultimate video experience to customers". Rogers. 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-04-17.
  22. Rogers to expand wireless networks in northern B.C.
  23. VoLTE FAQsRogers launches Voice Over LTE: What it is, and how it affects you
  25. “Phones & Devices,” Accessed May 21, 2013.
  26. “Rocket Mobile Internet,” Accessed May 21, 2013.
  27. “Programming,” Accessed May 21, 2013.
  28. “Rogers Anyplace TV app enhances Smart TV entertainment experience,” CNW Group, April 19, 2013.
  29. Ian Hardy, “Rogers to release a Rogers on Demand app for tablets,” Mobile Syrup, September 9, 2011.
  30. John Shmuel, “The short history of telecom startups in Canada,” Financial Post, May 18, 2013.
  31. Sean Cooper, “Fido’s rebrand complete, yellow figures prominently,” Engadget, November 4, 2008.
  32. 1 2 Jeff Gray, “Rogers violated false-advertising rules with ‘fewest dropped-call’ claims, court hears,” The Globe and Mail, May 13, 2013.
  33. Ian Hardy, “Rogers re-branding all Chatr Wireless kiosks in Montreal to Fido,” Mobile Syrup, May 7, 2012.
  34. “Rogers Wireless to charge for incoming text messages for user not in plans,”, May 5, 2009.
  35. Kathy Tomlinson, “Rogers charges for ‘free’ text messages,” CBC News, December 15, 2009.
  36. Ian Hardy, “Rogers says new customers will not pay the GRRF, but charges will be rolled into the Monthly Service Fee,” Mobile Syrup, July 4, 2012.
  37. Jamie Sturgeon, “Canada’s telecom giants face $18-billion class action suit over system access fees,” Financial Post, June 28, 2012.
  38. "Ruling backing Rogers's dropped-call ads for Chatr questioned," CBC News, August 21, 2013.
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