In an interview with The Financial Post, Rogers CEO, Joe Natale, says he wants the federal government to incentivize spending by established players when it comes to 5G wireless networks.
Natale said “It’s a very critical time right now,” adding, “The next 12 or 24 months will define and dictate the future of digital evolution in Canada.”
The Roger CEO said “We have an opportunity to lead in that area. More than ever, it’s a critical time for us to step up and create the environment.” Canada’s Big 3 telecoms are expected to spend billions for 5G spectrum when auctions take place in 2021.
While the federal government is now investigating whether or not to allow mobile virtual network operators (MNVO) as a way to lower wireless pricing, Natale says Canada needs to learn from mistakes of the European Union, which has seen smaller networks pop up, while negatively affecting infrastructure investment.
“Constant care and feeding,” is required for building expensive networks, according to Natale, who added, “Like local transit, you can’t build a subway line and walk away. You need to keep up with capacity, you need to keep up with demand.”
The CEO said Rogers made the right move to spend $1.7 billion on the recent 600 MHz wireless spectrum auction, taking 50% of licenses. He justified the big investment by noting this spectrum, which penetrates into rural and dense urban areas well, sets the company up for the next 30 to 50 years, while also will help improve network reliability, which Rogers customers demand.
“This is a very long game we’re playing, and we’re very happy with that outcome,” said Natale.
Rogers recently announced their 2019 Q1 earnings, seeing 23,000 postpaid subscribers added to go with $2.18 billion in wireless revenue.