In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced that it has postponed the 3500MHz spectrum auction by six months.
The new date for the auction is now June 15th, 2021. Several of the other key dates associated with the auction are listed on the government’s site since they’ve also been pushed back by six months.
“Canada’s telecommunications service providers are doing their part in this difficult time, providing essential services to keep Canadians connected as we face the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic together. A number of providers have raised concerns, and the Government is implementing measures to address them,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
“The Government will continue to reach out to telecommunications service providers—and to the private sector more broadly—to understand their challenges and support them to ensure that Canadians have access to high-quality networks and broad coverage at low prices.”
The government’s press release from June 5th, 2020 states that this is in line with what other countries are doing. It will help the telecommunication companies focus on providing robust service to Canadians as many of us are still self-isolating at home.
Beyond this, a consultation on the 3800MHz spectrum is set to begin in August to get the ball rolling on that slice of 5G spectrum as well. Notably, both the 3500MHz and 3800MHz are considered key due to their ability to transport data at 5G speeds at a reasonable range.
In a statement to MobileSyrup, Chethan Lakshman, the vice president of external affairs at Shaw, stated, “given the pandemic’s impact on Canadian society and overall business operations, we support the decision to provide additional time for industry and the government to prepare for this auction. A well-run auction process will ensure that Canadians and the Canadian economy will benefit from strong competition in wireless and 5G for years to come.”
“Our networks are the backbone of so much of our economy and as we continue to rollout Canada’s first 5G network, driving innovation and productivity, we look forward to accessing 3500 Mhz spectrum as soon as it is available,” Rogers said in a statement to MobileSyrup.
Telus sent MobileSyrup a statement, noting, “While we would like to see the auction proceed as soon as possible, we appreciate the government’s recognition of facilities-based carriers for keeping Canadians connected at all times, even during the pandemic. We have long been ready to make the crucial investment in 3500 MHz spectrum and network infrastructure required to realize the full promise of 5G so that Canadian entrepreneurs, businesses, and innovators can leverage the next generation of connectivity that promises to benefit us all.”