knew it was coming, and now it's official: Rogers Wireless has today launched its entry-level "chatr" wireless brand for Canadians everywhere -- and by "everywhere," we mean Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa (Montreal is coming soon, as is possibly elsewhere). Two plans are available: $45 monthly for unlimited talk-and-text and $35 for unlimited talk and 50 free texts. As of now, the official website's showing four devices to choose from, available at full price only (no subsidizing). On the low end, relatively speaking, there's the Nokia 1661 candybar for $60, followed by the LG GB125R flip for $75, the Nokia 2680 portrait QWERTY slider for $95, and Samsung's Gravity landscape QWERTY slider sitting at the top of the chain for $130. Rogers -- whose name appears nowhere in Chatr's branding so far -- expects "hundreds" of chatr kiosks to be rolled out at Future Shops, Best Buys, Costcos, and other retail outlets.
The brand will compete with other budget-conscious options from the likes of Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, but this one's got the advantage of Rogers' more established, wider-reaching network. According to The Globe and Mail and CBC News, Wind will be offering a whopping $150 credit for those who switch to its network from Rogers / chatr. Mobilicity's chairman John Bitove has a different strategy altogether, threatening to complain to the Competition Bureau that Rogers' possible goal here is to drive other discount phone brands out of business before dissolving chatr and leaving the market with only a higher-priced segment. And if you were wondering where Telus and Bell Mobility stand, well, both companies are reportedly expected to follow suit with entry-level brands of their own. Data plan-averse Canadians should have quite the selection from which to choose.