Canadians Could Miss Out on Latest iPhones if 5G Wireless Auction Delays: Telus Exec

The Canadian government needs to hold its 5G wireless auction by next year, or consumers may miss out on the latest smartphones, predicted a Telus executive, speaking at the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto, on Monday.

Telus chief technology officer, Ibrahim Gedeon, explained smartphone manufacturers and wireless network companies are pushing hard to get devices and equipment ready for fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks by 2020.

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With 5G networks, data can be carried at faster speeds and over longer distances. The issue in Canada right now? The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development hasn’t specified when it will hold the wireless auction for 3,500 megahertz spectrum bands. This lack of a specified wireless auction date has carriers concerned.

But for wireless companies like Telus and its rivals, they are advocating for the auction to happen by 2019. If the auction is delayed until 2020 or even 2021, that means Canadians could be missing out on the latest and greatest smartphones, which could include models from Apple.

“You will not be able, as a Canadian, to use the latest Samsung phone, or the latest LG, or the latest Huawei, or even the latest iPhone, till 2021,” Gedeon foreshadowed in an interview, after his speech.

Gedeon told The Canadian Press “They’re not going to wait,” referring to consumers wanting to purchase the newest cell phones. “We would be the only country in the world, if we’re launching by 2020 and 2021, that will not have access to the latest devices,” added the Telus CTO.

According to Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains in April, the department plans to clarify its next wireless spectrum auction by this summer, with spectrum licenses to be used as tools to spur competition and theoretically lower prices.

Telus is working with Chinese company Huawei to test 5G, recently achieving speeds of 1Gbps at its TechCity 5G Living Lab in Vancouver.