Telus CTO says slow spectrum auctioning process might put Canada behind on 5G

Ibrahim Gedeon delivered his remarks at a telecom forum in Nice, France

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Telus’s CTO is worried that Canada’s telecom industry will lag behind on the world stage when it comes to 5G spectrum allocation.

In an interview with Mobile World Live at the Digital Transformation World forum at Nice, France, Telus’s Ibrahim Gedeon expressed frustration with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) decision to proceed with a 600MHz spectrum auction before a 5G spectrum auction.

“We’ll be lucky to get 3.5GHz in 2020,” said Gedeon, in an interview with Mobile World Live. “So we might be behind the rest of the world on 5G.”

The federal government announced earlier this year that it plans on setting aside 600MHz spectrum for Canada’s smaller telecom players. The 600MHz spectrum auction is set to take place in March 2019.

Telus, of course, has been working with Chinese hardware and telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei on 5G tests in Vancouver for quite some time.

Huawei also announced earlier this year that it’s been working with Canada’s third-largest carrier on 5G wireless-to-the-home trials.

These trials are the first of their kind in Canada.

Huawei showed off its 5G fixed wireless modem during MWC 2018.

Rogers and Bell 5G trials

While Gedeon’s concerns seem to be aimed specifically at government formally allocating spectrum in a timely manner, it’s important to note that Canada’s carriers are currently in the process of working with telecom equipment manufacturers to trial 5G technology.

Rogers, for instance, announced its multi-year 5G plan in April 2018.

Canada’s largest carrier plans on working with Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson to trial 5G network technology in Toronto and Ottawa over the course of the next year.

Bell, Canada’s second-largest carrier, announced in November 2017 that it was conducting 5G trials in the 28GHz and 3.5GHz range with Huawei.

In 2016, Bell also announced that it was working with Nokia to trial 5G technology in Mississauga.

Still, there’s no denying that there’s still more work that needs to be done before 5G becomes a reality in Canada.

Source: Mobile World Live