The commercial deployment of 5G in Canada took a major step forward on July 29 when the federal government announced the end of the 3,500 megahertz (MHz) band spectrum auction. The use of this band will “support both coverage and capacity for a wide range of new applications”. This resulted in the awarding of 1,504 licenses, of which 1,495 were allocated to Canadian companies, mainly the major telecommunications companies but also to smaller providers.
These licenses will serve 172 regions in Canada, including rural and remote areas. The total cost of acquiring these licenses was $8.9 billion, which illustrates the high value placed by industry on the potential of 5G.
With the completion of this auction, we are now entering the large-scale commercialization phase of new 5G capabilities in Canada. The 3,500 MHz band spectrum is particularly attractive as it works well in dense urban areas as well as in wide rural areas. It’s a frequency that effectively crosses urban barriers, such as buildings, and can be provide on greater distances.
Our businesses need to get onboard
While this new 5G band has benefits for the ordinary citizen, it will have significant and structuring impacts in the industrial field, both in the high-tech sectors and in the more traditional fields of the economy.
This massive granting of licenses sends a clear and unequivocal message to Canadian companies to undertake the digital shift of their activities without delay. Their long-term competitiveness and ability to compete at home and abroad is at stake.
What is encouraging, based on the success of the ENCQOR 5G program, is that many business leaders in Quebec and Ontario already seem to understand the strategic issues related to 5G. Indeed, more than 730 SMEs in Quebec and Ontario have so far committed to the ENCQOR 5G program.
It will be important in the coming months and years to maintain and accelerate this momentum so that more and more Canadian businesses take their first steps towards 5G adoption. As the commercial availability of the new band will still take some time, the ENCQOR 5G test bed can be a concrete way for SMEs in Quebec and Ontario to test new 5G solutions today in a high-performance pre-commercial environment and improve their understanding of this technology.
We invite companies to apply for free access to our test bed by visiting our website. The 5G revolution is upon us. It’s happening now!
Wishing you well and enjoy the rest of the summer!