Federal Government Outlines 5G Roadmap Including Spectrum Auction in 2020

Speaking at the 2019 Canadian Telecom Summit, the federal government announced its 5G roadmap for Canadians, with Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Minister Navdeep Bains detailing what’s next:

  • a decision paper outlining changes to the 3500 MHz band supporting an auction in 2020
  • a public consultation on the 3500 MHz auction design with measures to support competition and lower prices
  • a decision on releasing higher frequency millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum in 2021
  • a new proposal to release 3800 MHz spectrum in 2022

“Our government has made progress on the three priorities I laid out at this summit two years ago: higher quality services and better coverage at more affordable prices. However, Canadians are still paying too much. The next steps in our plan will continue to improve rural Internet access and allow for the timely deployment of 5G connectivity while increasing the level of competition to lower prices for Canadians,” said Bains in a press release.

The federal government says new 5G networks “will create exciting opportunities for Canadians in the form of good, well-paying jobs and new products and services. This next-generation technology will bring benefits across Canada that will drive innovation, including in rural and remote regions.”

The Minister reiterated the Liberal government’s goal of bringing down prices on wireless at the conference, acknowledging they keep hearing from Canadians prices are too high for cellphones and internet.

The federal government is still undergoing a security review of 5G networks and whether or not to ban China’s Huawei.

With a 5G auction not coming until 2020, newer smartphones capable of 5G connectivity will have to wait in Canada to utilize faster speeds.

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