Archive for Rogers

Rogers Lights Up 700Mhz Spectrum

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 18, 2014 by itnerd

Rogers yesterday announced that they have turned on their 700 MHz spectrum in areas of in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary. It means better coverage in deep basement apartments, concrete office buildings, underground parking garages, elevators, high rise condos. This rollout will continue into 2015 and will give Rogers customers across Canada access to more services in more places which means that those customers can stream videos and get customers in places they never have before. This should force others who bought 700 Mhz to start to roll it out or risk giving Rogers a huge advantage in the marketplace.

Rogers Data Centers Tackles eWaste

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 17, 2014 by itnerd

Rogers Data Centres is making good on its commitment to environmental responsibility and will be doing its part in celebrating Earth Day. On April 23rd and 24th, Rogers will team up with Artex Environmental to provide eWaste collections at five of its Rogers Data Centres across the country. Customers and employees are invited to drop-off retired and obsolete electronic waste, from servers to cell phones and everything in between, at the Toronto DC3 (Markham), London, Ottawa, Edmonton centres as well as the newly opened Calgary facility.

Last year, Rogers Data Centres collected 43,970 pounds or nearly 20 tonnes of eWaste, adding to the more than 14 tonnes of eWaste that was diverted from landfills and developing countries during our 2012 collection efforts.

Visit rogersdatacentres.com/events for more information on Rogers’ eWaste collection events.

Rogers Announces New International Roaming Options

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 16, 2014 by itnerd

Rogers yesterday announced Rogers announced new roaming offers that will make staying connected while travelling easier for consumers. They’ve also added free usage text alerts so that customers can easily manage their consumption.

Here’s what Rogers is offering:

New international travel plans, with data, voice minutes and text in one

  • Select plans now include voice, text and minutes in one convenient package so they’re easier to use
  • Voice and text only plans are still available for those customers that don’t want data

$9.99 data-only roaming rate

  • This data-only rate is great for shorter trips and the amount of data that comes with the plan depends on the international destination
  • Like our $7.99 per day U.S. data roaming rate, Rogers will automatically add this offer to the customer account once they start using data while roaming

For example: A Rogers customer traveling in France is provided with 20MB of data, at $9.99/24 hours.

Free usage alerts

  • To manage costs, Rogers offers two data usage alerts:
  1. Customers can text “USAGE” to 3330 to see how many daily data rates have been used or if they’ve been charged overage costs on their travel plan
  2. Rogers will send text alerts as customers near the end of the data bucket included in a travel plan or the $9.99 rate

All packs can be purchased by texting “TRAVEL” to 7626 (free in Canada and abroad) or clicking a link in the SMS Rogers will send you once you’ve arrived at your destination. And destinations such as Africa, Europe, Asia, Caribbean, Latin America & Oceania as well as the USA. While not nearly as cheap as using a local SIM (which is my preferred option as I have a unlocked iPhone 5), at least the price of roaming is heading in the right direction.

For more information about these new roaming offers check out rogers.com/roaming.

Rogers Launches Suretap Mobile Payment System

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 11, 2014 by itnerd

Rogers today announced the launch of their mobile payment app, the suretap wallet. The suretap wallet, available today on a number of Android and select BlackBerry devices, lets customers use their smartphones to store payment and gift cards on one app and make mobile payments at tens of thousands of retailers across Canada. Here’s a quote from the press release:

Starting today, customers can add multiple cards to their suretap wallet including a Rogers Prepaid MasterCard that can be topped up with funds for mobile payments. Also available for purchase are gift cards from leading Canadian food and beverage merchants and retailers including Swiss Chalet, Milestones Grill and Bar, Montana’s Cookhouse, Harvey’s, Kelsey’s, Indigo, Earls Restaurants, Ardene, and Spafinder Wellness 365. In the future, the suretap wallet application will offer more retailer gift cards, as well as store loyalty cards, coupons and ID cards.

Within the suretap wallet application, customers can add funds to their prepaid card, check account balances, view transaction history and use location-based features to find retailers nearby that accept contactless payments. The application is available for download on select Android and BlackBerry 10 smartphones that include near-field-communications capabilities.

This is playing in the same space as things like Passbook from Apple or Samsung Wallet from Samsung. So if you have the right phone, which unlike the two solutions that I’ve previously mentioned that are brand specific, you can keep your wallet in your pocket. Seeing as I already pay for Starbucks coffee and I get movie tickets using my iPhone 5, that works for me.

Here’s a video that shows suretap in action:

Rogers New 700 MHz Spectrum Will Benefit Hockey Fans

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 3, 2014 by itnerd

Confused by the title? Just hang with me, it will all make sense in a second.

Rogers bought a ton of 700 MHz spectrum in the recent spectrum auction. And based on this announcement, they are putting it to use:

“We went into this auction with a clear plan to win the best spectrum for our customers. There is clear demand for the ultimate video experience and it will be a big part of how we bring the NHL to hockey fans,” said Guy Laurence, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Now, Rogers owns the broadcast rights to the National Hockey League for the next 12 years and one of their goals was to bring the NHL to every platform possible. That includes to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Thus having the bandwidth to broadcast games to those mobile devices is going to be a requirement. Rogers now has lots of bandwidth to play with which will make watching NHL games just like watching them at home on your TV.

But even if you’re not a hockey fan, you’ll still win if you’re a Rogers customer with an LTE device that plays in this new spectrum:

Rogers customers will be able to use their existing LTE devices as soon as the new spectrum is deployed, which will begin during 2014.

So you’ll score faster speeds even if you’re not an NHL fan. Talk about a power play.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Coming To Canada On April 11th

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on March 19, 2014 by itnerd

If you’re a Canadian in the market for a Samsung Galaxy S5 and you were wondering when it would hit the streets. Rogers and Telus took the time to reach out to me to let me know what their plans were. First up, Rogers:

A few weeks ago, we let new and existing customers reserve their spot in line for the device and today, we’re announcing exclusive offers for the first 10,000 who purchase through the Rogers Reservation System:

  • A $50 credit on a virtual Rogers Prepaid MasterCard in their suretap wallet, ready to spend however they want;
  • Customers already enrolled in the Rogers First Rewards loyalty program when they reserve will receive 2,000 bonus points with their purchase of the Samsung Galaxy S5.  Instantly redeem these points for a discount in-store or save to redeem for Rogers products and services, including bonus wireless data, roaming travel packs and more.

I also have pricing information to share with you this morning. The Samsung Galaxy S5 will be available on April 11 at Rogers for $249.99 on select two-year term agreements. Prices for Samsung Gear:  Gear 2 Neo, only available with Rogers, for $219.99; Gear Fit for $219.99; and Gear 2 for $329.99.

Next up is Telus:

We’re excited to confirm that the Samsung GALAXY S5 will be available in-store at TELUS on April 11 with pre-order launching April 1! For customers who just can’t wait, they can pre-register now on our website to receive information and early access to pre-order the Samsung GALAXY S5. We’ll follow-up with you on April 1 once pre-order goes live if you’d like to share the link via your networks.

One last thing, on April 11, not only will we have the Samsung GALAXY S5 available for sale in-store in charcoal black and shimmery white, but we’ll also have the GALAXY Gear 2 and Gear Fit available for purchase the same day at select TELUS stores and online.

So if you’re looking for a Galaxy S5, you’ve now got a couple of options to score yourself one.

Rogers Responds To My Story On The Rate Hikes By The Big 3

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 19, 2014 by itnerd

Yesterday, I posted a story about the big three telcos raising rates by the same dollar amount within a short period of time. Well, a representative from Rogers reached out to me to give their side of the story. Here’s their statement printed verbatim:

I saw your blog post from today, and wanted to reach out share a few facts about our new plans and prices.First off, prices were not changed on all plans. Many of our plans including our talk and text plans, our Smart Picks plans and our popular 1GB Share Everything plan remain at the same price. Our Smart picks at plans still start at $60/month for 500 MB.

Like any business, we regularly adjust our prices and the services we offer. We do this not only in our wireless business but across all products we offer our customers. 

Our wireless plans have changed significantly over the last few years to bring more value to our customers.

We were the first carrier in Canada to give our customers the ability to share data with friends or family or between all their connected devices. We also introduced new simplified rate plans that made it even easier for customers to pick the right plan for their needs.

Last summer we changed our plans from three year to two year terms and added great new value features like unlimited Canada-wide talk and text, plus voicemail and call display.

Our most recent changes have raised some questions. We can’t speak for any changes made by our competitors, but we can tell you what was behind the changes we made.

The needs of our customers are shifting and they’re using more data than ever before.  The majority of our customers use between 1GB and 2GB of data per month. That’s why we did not change the price of our popular 1GB plan ($85/month) and why we introduced a new 2GB plan for only $5 more.

We’re also added an extra 1GB of data to our 3GB plan for only $5 more, which is a great new option for couples or families sharing data between users. All our plans are shareable and allow customers to add an additional device for as little as $10 per month.

These changes do not affect a customer’s current plan. They only apply to customers who choose to sign up for one of these new plans.

Thanks for reaching out. Whenever possible, I try to give both sides of the story.

Now, I’ll do something different and suspend my thoughts on this and open this up to my readers to hear what do you think? I’d like to get your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Rogers Opens Flagship Data Centre In Calgary

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 26, 2014 by itnerd

Rogers Data Centres announced the opening of a new data centre in Calgary that gives Canadian and international businesses a highly reliable and certified data  centre presence in Western Canada. The facility, called ‘Calgary_DC3’, is the first Tier III certified data centre in Alberta. It is Rogers Data Centre’s second Tier III centre in Canada and will provide businesses of all sizes with access to secure, world class data centre services.

This data centre is in close enough proximity to Calgary city limits to be used as a primary corporate data centre for that market, and far enough out to be used as disaster recovery site. This 85,000 square foot facility provides access to both raised floor and business resumption space, with capacity for over 900 cabinets, state-of-the-art and highly efficient cooling systems, world-class security measures and 24/7 customer support. The new site also gives customers the ability to implement a fully redundant in-province technology hosting solution to be used in tandem with Rogers Data Centres’ Edmonton-based facility.

Rogers Data Centres Calgary_DC3 has also received Uptime Institute’s Tier III certification for design and will be certified for construction. This third party validation assures customers that the site meets the highest industry standards for data centre design and construction. The facility is additionally SSAE 16, PCI, and HIPAA compliant to respond to internal and external auditing requirements. This compliance allows business customers to leverage Roger’s certification in their own auditing process. They will be assured through third party verification that the site is operated within the best practices in the industry, saving financial and human resources typically put towards auditing of data centres.

If you want to find out more about this and other Rogers Data Centres, visit www.datacentres.rogers.com.

 

Rogers To Carry The LG G Flex This Spring Exclusively

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 20, 2014 by itnerd

Introduced back in October, the LG G Flex is the world’s first curved smartphone!. And today Rogers announced that they will be carrying it exclusively in Canada. Here are some features that you should take note of: 

  • The LG G Flex is designed to fit in the palm of your hand and follow the curve of your face with its six-inch curved screen (it even has a curved battery!);
  • It has a self-healing coating, which means the phone’s back cover can recover from day-to-day nicks and scratches;
  • The LG G Flex is super-fast and can run on the our 2100 and 2600 MHz spectrum, reaching top speeds on the Rogers LTE network. This speed, coupled with the LG Flex’s curved design, enhances video experiences with virtually no buffering or delays.

Rogers will have more details to share in the coming weeks, but customers who can’t wait to get their hands on this device can reserve theirs on the Rogers Reservation System beginning today.

Review: Samsung Galaxy Gear

Posted in Products with tags , on February 20, 2014 by itnerd

A year after I came to this country as a 7 year old from the United Kingdom (which was 1977), I was enthralled by a cartoon series called Battle Of The Planets. It was a English adaptation of a groundbreaking Japanese cartoon series called Science Ninja Team Gatchaman which details the story (At least in the English version. The Japanese version has a slightly different plot line) of five highly trained teenagers backed by state of the art technology fighting against a group of aliens bent on invading and taking over the Earth. One of those pieces of technology that the teenagers had were special watches that they each wore which among other things, allowed them to communicate by voice to each other by speaking into the watch. I had to admit that I found that to be very cool and I often imitated that when I pretended to be one of those teenagers.

Fast forward to 2014.

I have in my possession a Samsung Galaxy Gear that Rogers provided me this week. It a member of a growing subset of technology called a smart watch which is a watch that does more than tell the time. It can have apps, check your e-mail and text messages, or in the case of the Galaxy Gear, allow you to have a phone conversation without having to use your phone to do it. The latter allowed me to live out my childhood fantasies in a way.

Now the Galaxy Gear needs a Samsung phone to work with. Thankfully, Rogers also provided me the Galaxy Note 3 which is a phone I’ve previously reviewed. But that was with another carrier. So I figured that it would be interesting to see what difference changing carriers made. I found that there were two differences. One was minor and one was significant. The minor difference was that Rogers had a number of their apps on this phone including Rogers Anyplace TV, City TV Video, and apps that allows you to check your Rogers account as well download ringtones among other things. The significant difference was the speed on LTE. The Galaxy Note 3 served up an average of 29Mbps downstream and 9.5 Mbps upstream on the Rogers LTE network. While the upstream speed was just short of my previous test of this “phablet” on a different carrier, the downstream speed which is what most people care about was significantly faster. Interesting.

So. Before I even get into the setup of the device, how does it look on your wrist? Let’s start with my wrist:

IMG_0754

Okay, it’s big but the Galaxy Gear looks decent on my wrist. Now let’s try my wife. I’ll not that she’s 5′ 6″, 125 pounds soaking wet and slim:

IMG_0751

It looks overwhelming on her wrist. If you’re interested in the Galaxy Gear, make sure it looks good before you plunk down your cash. In terms of looks, the Galaxy Gear looks classy as it is made of metal. It doesn’t scream “geeky” at all. The AMOLED touchscreen which is covered in Gorilla Glass which is 1.6″ in size is bright. Though as you will note from the pictures above, it does attract light amounts of smudges. Having said that, it was viewable in any lighting condition I subjected it to. The Galaxy Gear felt comfortable on my wrist and I didn’t really notice it was there. Though your mileage may vary. I should also note that the straps come in different colours to fit your fashion needs, but they do not appear to be able to be swapped by end users.

The Galaxy Gear comes with a micro-USB cord and a special charging cradle. Its the only way to charge the Galaxy Gear and I guess that was done to keep the look of the watch upscale by not having a micro-USB port on it.  The top cover of the charging cradle is secured by a latch, so just open it up, rest the watch inside and reattach the cover to start charging it up.

Let’s talk about setting up the Galaxy Gear with the Samsung phone of your choice. The list of phones that supports the Galaxy Gear can be found here. It’s important that you check this list before you buy, otherwise you’ll be buying a very expensive brick. The reason being that it only works with those phones from Samsung.

Now, assuming you have a compatible phone, it’s very easy to set up:

  1. Power up the Galaxy Gear and you’ll be prompted to use NFC.
  2. Make sure that NFC is activated on the Samsung Phone and tap the back of Galaxy Gear to the back of the phone.
  3. Once the two devices recognize each other, the phone downloads the Gear Manager software. The it turns on Bluetooth and auto pairs the Galaxy Gear to the phone. Just make sure you follow the prompts.
  4. Done. Declare victory and have a beer.

Now the whole point of the Gear Manager software is that it acts as interface for your Galaxy Gear and allows you to tweak settings, adjust the order of apps and even download third-party apps that have been specially made for the smaller screen. Speaking of apps, Samsung has a decent roster of apps in a number of categories and the platform is open for third party developers as well. Though the only third party apps that I noted were MyFitnessPal and Runtastic. I used Gear Manager to pick the watch face that I want as well as set the Galaxy Gear to let me know when e-mails and text messages come in. And all of this without having to whip out the Note 3 to check any of this. However, I will note that I cannot respond to e-mail or texts on the Galaxy Gear.

I got used to navigating the Galaxy Gear smart watch quickly. The longer you spend playing with the device the easier it becomes. You can swipe down from the top of the home screen to access the camera, swipe up from the bottom to access the Dialler, and right or left to get to Notifications, S Voice, Voice Memo, Gallery, Media Controller, Pedometer, Settings, Apps, Logs and Contacts. Inside each menu item you can tap on actions to select them, and use the drop-down menu at the top right of certain screens to access further options. Dragging down from the top of the screen returns you to the previous one. Now, all of this is driven from your Samsung smartphone via Bluetooth, so if your phone isn’t within range of the Galaxy Gear, you won’t get any of this info pushed from your phone. Having said that, if you are out of range of your phone, the Galaxy Gear does act as a proper watch as it will display the current time. Some things do stand out:

  • S Voice which is Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Siri is built in and it can do such things as search online to find answers to your questions, text or call a friend, and add appointments to your calendar.
  • Its Pedometer app works in conjunction with the S Health app on the Samsung smartphone to count your steps and track your health. It’s handy to for the fitness nut.
  • It’s handy to dial a number and use the Galaxy Gear to talk to someone. The sound quality is decent, but you will get stares from people as you do this.

The other feature that the Galaxy Gear has going for it is a 1.9 MP camera that does 720P video and a choice of 1392×1392 (1:1) or 1280×960 (4:3) still pics. Now, I will note that it was a bit weird to aim the camera using the touchscreen, and that can make taking pictures interesting at times. More on that in a second. Now to test the still pictures, I set it to 1280×960 and took it along with the Note 3 to the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto to see how it performed. Here’s a few examples of what I was able to do with the camera. Click the pictures to see them in full resolution:

20140217_135049 20140217_135012 20140217_131921

The camera on this Galaxy Gear was never intended to produce top-quality stills and video, although the quality is acceptable. The only place that this camera really let me down is trying to aim it. It’s the odd placement of the camera on the side of your arm is what makes this feature difficult to use. Holding up your arm to take shots is a practice that’s prone to both camera wobble and attracting all sorts of attention from people around you. I got all sorts of stares from people using smartphone to take pictures who were perplexed as to why I was taking photos using a watch. Having said that, I can see how you can use it to sneak a photo or two in places or situations where you aren’t meant to take photos. Or you can use it to take a quick photo without whipping out a phone.

Now when it comes to video, it will do 720P. Now instead of shooting some video at the car show, I decided to go to my usual location of Pearson Airport in Toronto to film a plane landing. Make sure that you set the video to full screen and 720P:

Like the photos, it is a bit blurry, but it works if you need to take a quick video. And I do mean quick as you are limited to 15 seconds of video. Two things to note with both stills and videos. When you take a picture or a video, it automatically uploads to your smartphone.

Now when it comes to battery life, I got an average of a day and a half of solid use. So I can see that you could get at least a couple of days of usage between charges.

So, what’s my verdict? It’s a solid effort from Samsung, but I believe it needs time to grow and mature. But as it does, I think it will be a solid competitor in the growing ranks of smart watches. It’s big challenge will be to fight off competitors like the Pebble smart watch which has the advantage of being both iOS and Android compatible, and the much rumoured and much hyped iWatch from Apple. The Samsung Galaxy Gear goes for $329 at Rogers. If you have a Samsung phone that works with it, and you’re interested in a smart watch, take a good look at the Galaxy Gear.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 158 other followers