Bell announced that it has selected Ericsson as its 5G network equipment supplier, and that the company will provide radio access network (RAN) equipment.
It says while it is entirely focused on ensuring Canadians remain connected and informed throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the company is poised to launch initial 5G as the economy opens up.
The carrier has stated that it will be working with multiple equipment suppliers for its 5G network, and has already previously announced a partnership with Nokia. Bell says that its multi-vendor strategy has been key to delivering its 4G and LTE services.
“With the support of Ericsson and our other 5G partners, Bell looks forward to ensuring Canada remains at the forefront of the next generation of mobile communications,” Bell’s CEO, Mirko Bibic, said in a press release.
The carrier has previously stated its interest in working with Huawei for part of its 5G rollout, but has acknowledged that the government has yet to decide if the Chinese company will be allowed to participate in the deployment of 5G.
Bell notes that its initial 5G service will offer “faster top-end data speeds than LTE at launch,” and that 5G-equipped smartphones are already available from Bell. This includes the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G series, the LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen and the Motorola Edge+.
The carrier says its network will continue to grow in speed, capacity and coverage as additional 5G wireless spectrum becomes available, including the federal government’s 3.5Ghz spectrum auction taking place at the end of this year.
Ericsson will also support Bell’s rollout of 5G-enhanced Wireless Home Internet service to more small towns and rural locations in future.
“5G’s high-capacity and near-instant connections will enable next-generation applications like mobile 4K video and immersive augmented reality, connected vehicles and industrial IoT automation on a massive scale,” said Bell’s CTO, Stephen Howe, in the press release.
Ericsson has signed 92 commercial 5G agreements with telecom providers worldwide to date, and is the first company to enable commercial 5G networks on four continents.
Bell joins Rogers, which is also partnered with Ericsson for its 5G network. Rogers launched its initial 5G network in earlier this year in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.
Telus has yet to announce an official 5G vendor, but earlier this year stated that it will use its existing Huawei equipment for the first phase of its 5G rollout. The carrier stated that its Huawei equipment is restricted from the sensitive radio access portion of the network, and says this approach has been approved by the government.