Ottawa Launches Consultation to Repurpose 3800 MHz Spectrum for 5G Wireless

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has announced today it has launched a consultation to repurpose the 3800 MHz spectrum band for next-generation 5G wireless networks instead.

“The consultation will also help connect more Canadians to high-speed Internet by looking to increase the amount of spectrum available for wireless broadband services that are important for connectivity in rural and remote areas. More specifically, it looks to make 250 MHz of spectrum available for 5G,” explains ISED.

“The government is committed to ensuring that all consumers and businesses benefit from greater choice, competitive prices, and the deployment and timely availability of services across the country,” says ISED’s press release.

Ottawa says it will be “making sure” the changes to the 3800 MHz band will “support both urban and rural wireless services, as well as the deployment of 5G.”

Current use of the 3800 MHz spectrum is for wireless broadband service in the 3650 to 3700 MHz range and fixed satellite service/fixed service in 3700 to 4200 MHz.

“Mobile use in the 3700-4000 MHz band would also allow Canada to consider aligning with the policy and licensing decisions in the U.S.,” explains the consultation.

“Our government understands that new technologies such as clean energy, precision agriculture, autonomous vehicles and advanced telemedicine will create exciting opportunities for Canadians. These technologies will also lead to the creation of good jobs and new innovative products and services. Having the right spectrum available and ensuring the effective deployment of 5G technology will be key tools in making sure all Canadians benefit from these new technologies, regardless of where they live,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, in a statement.

The federal government is set to launch its 3500 MHz spectrum auction on June 15, 2021, after announcing it would be delayed earlier this summer. Both 3500 MHz and 3800 MHz spectrum bands are seen as key for 5G wireless networks.