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Ottawa to Repurpose 3800 MHz Spectrum for 5G, Auction Set for 2023

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Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada announced on Friday it will repurpose the 3800 MHz spectrum band for 5G networks, with a spectrum auction starting in early 2023.

The federal government says the addition of the 3800 MHz band will “support both urban and rural wireless services as well as the deployment of 5G.”

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“Our government is committed to making the right spectrum available to support the highest quality wireless services and the rollout of 5G technologies. We know these services will drive innovative new technologies, from clean energy to telemedicine, while also creating good jobs and new products for Canadians living in rural and remote areas,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, in a statement.

Canada will launch its 3500 MHz spectrum on June 15, 2021, with the 3800 MHz spectrum to follow in “early 2023”. Both bands are seen as key spectrum for 5G networks.

Shaw and Freedom Mobile will not be participating in the 5G auction; the company’s shareholders recently voted to fully support the proposed merger with Rogers.

ISED says satellite services will be limited to the 4000 to 4200 MHz portion of the band by 2025, with certain exceptions, while existing fixed satellite service providers can keep using the entire 500 MHz band in remote areas.

The government says wireless broadband service licensees in urban areas will transition by 2025, while licensees in rural areas will have until 2027.

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