Canadian government to launch consult on new 5G spectrum, emphasize competition

Cell Tower photo - opensignal Canada data speeds

Minister Navdeep Bains of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) announced at the Canadian Telecom Summit today that the government is launching a public consultation regarding releasing large swaths of spectrum for the development of 5G networks.

“That’s how Canadians will have access to faster, more reliable networks regardless of traffic loads,” said Minister Bains, adding: “There is no difference anymore between the digital economy and the rest of the economy. The digital economy is the economy.”

The public consultation will focus on releasing high-frequency millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28 GHz, 37–40 GHz and 64–71 GHz frequency bands. mmWave is capable of providing gigabit speeds but has lesser coverage than low-frequency bands, which will also be necessary for Canadian fifth-generation wireless networks.

The Minister told MobileSyrup at a press briefing that the government will be launching the consultations for the release of 600MHz spectrum in the coming weeks, as well.

“In particular [the 600 band] will extend more wireless signal to Canadians living in rural and remote communities,” said Minister Bains, “And let me be clear about our approach to the 600MHz auction, it will provide an opportunity to support more competition.”

The Minister also announced that the government is instructing the CRTC to reconsider a decision pertaining to Wi-Fi-first MVNOs and updating the licensing framework for satellite broadband internet providers.