Rogers CEO: “Today I think it’s all about HSPA, not about LTE.”

rogers-network-phasesAt the 2009 Canadian Telecom Summit Nadir Mohamed, Rogers President and CEO of Rogers,  started off his presentation the right way by paying tribute to founder Ted Rogers for being instrumental of building the wireless business in Canada. It was only about 20 seconds or so but showed his style by recognizing one our great Canadian icons.

Mohamed has a clear focus on building the business with a core understanding that customer service is key to their success, stating “We have to create a comfort level for our customers. The most important is what all of us need to do is to understand and be in-sync with what is happening with our customers.” He stress that personalization and on-demand “is huge” when it comes to their customers wanting to access the items that are important to them when and wherever they are, whether it’s e-mail, application, entertainment and web.

He once again stated that they are considering developing a promise of sorts: “We’ve talked about it but haven’t launched it. Symbolically creating a ‘Rogers Promise’ that speaks to what we stand for and hopefully embrace it from what a perspective of what customers can expect when they do business with us… these are the kinds of things we we will have to do to earn the trust from Canadians.”

One of the fascinating comments that I found to be of value is when he said “It’s an important thing to reflect back. 25 years ago… 1985 when we launched wireless in Canada, the notion of wireless was very much about mobility. Wireless = Mobility. I suggest today that wireless has very little to do with mobility and everything to do with personalization.”

With the wireless penetration in Canada at an estimated 70%, over the past year Rogers has released some important devices such as the iPhone, Bold and recently the Android devices. More importantly he suggested that the adoption of mobile usage becoming a day-to-day lifestyle. Even today with the “Zoompass” colablation of all 3 carriers that allows you to send and receive money through your mobile… “these are early days, this is the beginning of something that will revolutionize our industry”.

Overall Nadir Mohamed is incredibly optimistic about the future stating “the future of wireless is not about Voice, but about ‘access to the Internet’. It used to be ringtones, now think of iTunes, think of YouTube, think of the power of the internet being delivered to your mobile device.”

In regards to the speed of their network from a slide in the presentation it looks like they have a plan in place with several phases. First GSM then Edge, HSPA Phase 1 speeds of 3.6mbps, followed by the current speeds of 7.2mbps (Reaches 75% of Canadians). The next phases are HSPA Evolved with speeds of 21.1mbps and then LTE.

“To me we are now entering the sweet spot of HSPA deployment 7.2… the next evolution that most people in the industry are looking at is how to get faster speeds on HSPA before LTE. My readability is that it’s not something that ready for prime time deployment. What’s interesting for me is when our competition said they will go to HSPA it allowed Rogers to get back into the drivers seat. I think LTE deployment in Canada again is something that we will look to lead as the evolution, but is not something we are looking for in the short term. I think there is lots of legs, lots of room to grow HSPA. Today I think it’s all about HSPA, not about LTE.”

In closing, again very optimistic and very focused on listening to their customers: “Today, in our business these technologies take a long time to get to where they become meaningful and when they do they tend to transform, and I think we’re in that stage where we are seeing early signs and we have to be focused on how consumers are behaving differently and how they are consuming services differently… the demand for people to consume information, entertainment and communications is insatiable and our job is just to figure out how to deliver it best.”

(We have video of this and will upload it soon)