Rogers confirms new Chatr wireless brand

Rogers Communications has confirmed it is launching another discount wireless brand, named Chatr, to compete with new carriers such as Wind, Mobilicity and Public Mobile.

Rogers Communications has confirmed it is launching another discount wireless brand, named Chatr, to compete with new carriers such as Wind, Mobilicity and Public Mobile.

The new brand, which will offer contract-free unlimited voice and text services within "defined zones," will also compete with established discount brands such as Bell's Solo and Virgin and Telus's Koodo, as well as Rogers' own Fido.

In making the announcement on Wednesday, Rogers took a swipe at some of the startup issues the new carriers have had with their networks.

"We've been watching this niche-but-growing category closely, and it's clear that some Canadians want to use their handsets for voice and text only but want a network they can trust," said John Boynton, Rogers' executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, in a statement.

The company also defended the need for another brand, likening it to other businesses that segment different kinds of customers.

"The launch of a third brand mirrors many other industries like the hospitality and retail sectors and is designed to offer Canadians more choice," he said.

The main Rogers brand will continue to offer "leading-edge" devices on a fast and reliable network, while Fido will "remain a value brand with superior service that cares about the customer and the environment," the company said.

Industry analysts have said there are few discernible differences between the Rogers and Fido brands, though. Both offer Apple's iPhone, widely thought of as the most high-end of devices, with the only difference being that the Rogers brand charges extra fees such as the regulatory recovery charge.

Rogers said further Chatr details, such as availability and pricing, would be announced closer to its launch this summer.

News of the brand was first broken last week by the Boy Genius Report technology blog, and confirmed by CBC News earlier this week. The blog report stated that Chatr will launch in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, which are the five cities that Wind has launched in and that have been targeted by Mobilicity.


Peter Nowak


Peter Nowak is a Toronto-based technology reporter and author of Humans 3.0: The Upgrading of the Species.