Ottawa Opens Consultation for mmWave 5G Spectrum Auction in 2024

The Canadian government on Monday announced a consultation on the potential auction of “large amounts” of high-frequency 5G spectrum in the 26, 28, and 38 GHz mmWave bands.

The mmWave Licensing Framework Consultation includes measures designed to “promote competition, foster innovation and ensure providers use their spectrum in a timely manner,” said Ottawa.

Canadians currently pay some of the highest wireless prices in the world, and Ottawa sees more competition in the country’s oligopolistic telecom space as the only option to drive down prices.

Canada’s last 5G spectrum auction, held in July 2021, saw carriers spend $8.91 billion to acquire available airwaves. However, the government’s decision to set some spectrum aside for smaller, regional carriers was heavily criticized by national players.

“Our government recognizes that high-quality telecommunication services are crucial in the everyday lives of Canadians,” said Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

“That’s why we are continuing to make more spectrum available, with the right rules in place to improve competition, innovation and affordability in the industry. We are excited to hear how this spectrum can be put to good use to create innovative 5G applications to benefit Canadians.”

The mmWave Licensing Framework Consultation will be open to comments for 120 days. According to the federal government, this is the next major step in a mmWave spectrum auction planned for 2024.