Rogers Communications today announced that it will launch its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network this year, tapping Ericsson as its supplier for the commercial deployment. For 2011, Rogers will start by launching commercial LTE network services in four Canadian cities (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottawa) and will expand that number to the top 25 markets across Canada in 2012.

LTE, the latest standard in the mobile network technology tree that produced the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, is meant to give users a mobile broadband experience similar to what they currently see with broadband for PCs at home and at work. Rogers claims its customers will experience speeds that are between three to four times faster than HSPA+ with peak download rates of up to 150Mbps and upload speeds of up to 70 Mbps.

LTE will also deliver lower latency than HSPA+, which should make a noticeable difference in multiplayer gaming and media streaming. At the same time, it will deliver more usage capacity which means more users can access the network at top speeds without affecting overall network performance.

Rogers will initially launch LTE using AWS spectrum and will over time deploy LTE in multiple bands to ensure the best possible experience for customers. The news follows a comprehensive technical trial of LTE that Rogers conducted last year in Ottawa and Montreal.

To promote its new LTE network, Rogers has launched a webpage titled "I Want My LTE". There's a contest (closes May 31, 2011) in which Rogers customers can enter to win a "Future of Fast" package that includes a trip to Toronto, passes to the 2011 Honda Toronto Indy, and the chance to get behind the wheel of a professional race car.

"The world is moving to LTE and we're thrilled to be leading the way by bringing this next generation technology to our consumer and business customers," Nadir Mohamed, President and CEO of Rogers Communications, said in a statement. "We're investing substantially to drive Canada's digital economy and we're excited to bring this platform for innovation to Canadians. LTE is the critical foundation to deliver a world increasingly being defined by connected experiences. With LTE, our customers can use their smartphones, tablets and laptops in ways they never before thought possible - LTE is the fuel that will power Canadian innovation for years to come."