Rogers Teams with TBay Tel

by Jordan Richardson on March 26, 2010

Rogers Communications is expanding its Canadian reach yet again by partnering with TBayTel to extend its HSPA services west of Sault Ste. Marie all the way to the Manitoba border.

TBayTel benefits from the relationship in that it gets to upgrade its CDMA network to Rogers’ fast and furious HSPA network. In partnering with Rogers, TBayTel basically helps the Toronto-based giant wedge out its competitors in Northern Ontario.

The news sounds good for consumers in the underserviced 300,000 square kilometre region, of course, and it means good things for TBayTel as they can offer subscribers a wider variety of trendy smart phones.

Rogers struck a similar deal last year with Manitoba’s MTS Allstream and seems to be stacking the deck against Bell and Telus while Canada’s Big Three providers jostle for marketing position. In the midst of new competition, it looks like the old guard is pulling out all the stops to steadily ingrain themselves as necessary evils in Canada’s provinces and territories.

TBayTel president and CEO Don Campbell was negotiating with other providers before settling on the Rogers deal. In the end, the Rogers proposal wound up benefiting his company the most. Campbell’s TBayTel was in desperate need of an upgrade in terms of its network capabilities, as the coverage of the pebbly, forested country near Sault Ste. Marie left a lot to be desired.

TBayTel also only offered North American roaming under its previous CDMA networks, so the Rogers deal enables them to open the floodgates to international roaming agreements.

“TBayTel remains focused on providing Northern Ontario residents with advanced telecom solutions that will benefit Thunder Bay and the region through increased economic growth potential and networking capability,” said Campbell.

This partnership does make it difficult for other providers to crack the Northern Ontario market and it expands Rogers’ control over some thorny territory. Perhaps more to the point, it exposes Rogers to a budding puddle of 200,000 customers from TBayTel’s coverage area and lets those customers taste the syrupy nectar of HSPA.

But how long will it be before those customers ascertain the truth behind Rogers’ service and those celebrated, ever-rising roaming charges? With Canada’s Big Three restructuring and relabeling their price increases ostensibly by the hour, are the residents of the underserviced 300,000 square kilometre region west of Sault Ste. Marie actually getting something worth bragging about?

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acidradio March 27, 2010 at 2:59 am

I’m glad to see the north woods getting advanced wireless coverage! In such an isolated place it is neat to see real wireless coverage emerge. But why HSPA (HSDPA/HSUPA?) at this time? We are on the horizon of LTE coming out. Why not have Rogers invest in TBayTel so that they can roll out LTE then broker some kind of roaming agreement? Once LTE comes out they are going to have to replace all that HSPA gear anyways! Wouldn’t it be neat for some operator like TBayTel to be the first operator in North America to roll out LTE?

And which radio bands will TBayTel deploy this on? Will it all be 850 or do they have some other licenses they intend to roll out (ie. 1900, 1700, etc.)? I am excited for the day I can drive through NW Ontario and talk on either a GSM or CDMA handset!

Jordan Richardson March 27, 2010 at 4:56 pm

“But why HSPA (HSDPA/HSUPA?) at this time?”

I’m assuming they’re going this route because that’s what Rogers already has set up and any other significant investment in such a sparse service area isn’t worth it for them. It would be neat for TBayTel to roll out LTE, but they’re not going to be the ones to do it. And Rogers isn’t interesting in investing in TBayTel when they’ll still be competing with them for customers.

saeed shaeri January 5, 2011 at 10:23 am

oh yah why dont u get somemore pepole to work for u so this way i dont have to wait for 30min or maybe more on line to talk to sombody stupet thing i ever seen

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