Bell has been less vocal about its 5G testing over the past year in comparison with competitor and infrastructure partner Telus, but that doesn’t mean the telecommunications company has been sitting idle.
The carrier spoke about its testing of the fifth generation wireless technology — as well as LTE-Advanced technology — today during its Q3 2017 financial results. The carrier noted that it is now conducting trials in the 28GHz and 3.5GHz ranges with telecom equipment giant (and smartphone maker) Huawei, which also works closely with Telus.
28GHz qualifies as mmWave spectrum, which are capable of some pretty impressive data rates for wireless applications — up to 10Gbps, in fact — but are also easily inhibited and, as a result, quite short range.
3.5GHz, meanwhile, is a lower frequency range that was auctioned in 2004 for Fixed Wireless Access between two permanent locations, which often serves as an alternative to fiber or cable. Being a lower frequency, the 3.5GHz offers longer range than 28GHz, but is also reduced in its throughput capabilities.
Previously, Bell worked with Nokia on 5G testing, announcing last July that its Wireless Innovation Centre in Mississauga leveraged spectrum in the 73 GHz range to reach consistent data speeds that were up to six times faster than the “top 4G mobile speeds” available in Canada.
“5G technology will enable significantly faster data speeds, lower latency, and increased capacity to meet demands for mobile video, virtual reality, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications,” wrote Bell in its earning report.
The carrier also noted that its network now reaches 99 percent of Canadians, and that its LTE-A network, specifically, covers 82 percent of the national population with theoretical speeds of up to 260Mbps.
Further, the carrier says it now reaches 33 percent of Canadians with Tri-band LTE-A service offering theoretical speeds up to 335 Mbps, and up to a theoretical 750 Mbps with its Quad Band LTE-A service available to 21 percent of the population.