Rogers To Launch 21Mbps HSPA+ Network

Rogers has officially announced its plans to begin a 21Mbps HSPA+ network roll-out across Canada, making it the first wireless carrier to offer these speeds in North America (Canada wins again, in North America anyway).

Canada Wins

Rogers 21Mbps HSPA+ Network

The current network speed for Rogers 3G is up to 7.2Mbps, but as many of you know, the speeds on our iPhones rarely break 4Mbps. The full HSPA+ upgrade is set for mid-2010 completion and will deliver speeds of up to 21Mbps (did you catch that? “up to“), just in time for a possible new iPhone launch in the summer months. These speeds are also similar to what you would expect from higher-tier land-line based internet such as from Shaw, Rogers Cable, Telus High Speed, etc.


The HSPA+ roll-out begins in Toronto in August 2009, and will move to Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and the remaining major cities in Canada. By completion, the new HSPA+ network will blanket the current 3G HSPA network areas. For those areas in Canada where Rogers HSPA+ may not be available, you will still have access to the 3G HSPA network of speeds up to 7.2Mbps.

Can my iPhone have 21Mbps?

The short answer is no. While the current iPhone hardware cannot access 21Mbps, any new iPhones that come out may be able to. However, at this time, no current iPhone hardware can access these speeds. A device cannot exceed a speed past its capability.

  • 3.6 HSPA Device = Maximum speed of 3.6Mbps = iPhone 3G
  • 7.2 HSPA Device = Maximum speed of 7.2Mbps = iPhone 3GS
  • 21.0 HSPA+ Device = Maximum speed of 21.0Mbps = Jesus Jobs iPhone 2010

With that being said, your iPhone 3G/3GS will marginally benefit from the increased network capacity. As we have seen, most of our Rogers iPhone 3G/3GS devices cannot break 3Mbps/4Mbps, however with the new 21Mbps HSPA+ network, we may be able to see results closer to what the iPhone 3G/3GS can actually achieve. That is 3.6Mbps on the iPhone 3G and 7.2Mbps on the iPhone 3GS. However, in real world tests, it is highly unlikely that any device will be able to achieve the 21Mbps speed.

Is HSPA+ 4G?

HSPA+ is not 4G. HSPA+ falls somewhere in between 3G and 4G. Eventually Rogers will achieve 4G or LTE, but at this time HSPA+ is more like 3.75G.


I’m with Fido. What about me?

Considering Rogers owns Fido, but Fido only operates a smaller network within urban areas, Fido will also benefit from the 21Mbps HSPA+ upgrade but only in the small urban areas that its current network influence operates in.

rogers_fidoThe network upgrade is definitely a good move for Rogers, especially with the new wireless carriers coming in Fall 2009. I do wonder though if we will see a decrease in prices with an increase of data capacities or if we will see the opposite, with an increase in prices and a freeze of data capacities. Here’s to hoping for the former.