Rogers, Telus, Bell Join Hands to Meet TTC Wireless Deadline

Over a month after Rogers launched 5G cellphone service in the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway, Bell and Telus are set to offer the same service by the federal government-mandated October 3 deadline.

The development comes after federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne directed Rogers to extend access to other major telecom companies.

“This solution that we were able to bring together is leveraging the investment that we have been making over the last six months to upgrade the legacy infrastructure to be able to deliver 5G services,” said Ron McKenzie, Chief Technology and Information Officer for Rogers, speaking to CityNews, a publication owned by the company.

McKenzie also noted that Rogers staff logged roughly 10,000 hours in three weeks to meet the federal deadline, “working tirelessly” around the clock, with some work hours only available from 2am to 5am daily.

The federal government mandated universal access to the TTC after the telecom companies failed to reach an agreement. Rogers, Bell, and Telus engineers are now working on a “multi-operator core network,” with Rogers adding extra hardware for network testing.

“In line with the conditions of licence as communicated by Minister Champagne on Sept. 11, we’re expecting that Bell and Virgin customers will have service on the TTC starting October 3,” stated Bell spokesperson Éliane Légaré.

“The Telus team is working around the clock to ensure that our network is ready to deliver safe and reliable service to all TTC riders by Oct. 3,” said Telus spokesperson Martin Nguyen.

The new setup will offer full 5G capabilities in specific subway sections, with plans for further expansion. Bell, Telus, and Freedom Mobile face a December 20 deadline to finalize commercial agreements with Rogers.

“We’ll be continuing to work with the TTC to expand the areas and platforms so that the whole system is covered,” McKenzie added.

Bell previously texted customers to let them know service would be available before or near the October 3 deadline. Now we know Telus is preparing as well. This means all customers from the ‘Big 3’ and Freedom Mobile will have cellular access on the TTC beginning on October 3, 2023.

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