Bell announces ‘5G+’ deployment starting in Toronto

Bell's 5G+ uses 3500MHz spectrum and the carrier says it can reach "peak theoretical download speeds of up to 3Gbps"

Bell announced its new ‘5G+’ network will soon arrive for Bell 5G customers starting in Toronto.

The Montreal-based national telecom detailed the news in a press release, saying it would work towards covering roughly 40 percent of the Canadian population with 5G+ by the end of 2022.

Bell’s release indicates 5G+ will run on 3500MHz spectrum and the carrier said it would offer “peak theoretical download speeds of up to 3Gbps in select areas.” Moreover, Bell said customers with ‘Ultimate 45’ or ‘Ultimate 50’ plans, and compatible devices, would be the first to access 5G+. These plans cost $85/mo and $95/mo respectively.

“Today’s announcement reinforces Bell’s commitment to provide the best networks to Canadian consumers and businesses so they can do more of what they love,” said Stephen Howe, Bell’s chief technology and information officer, in the release.

“I’m thrilled that 5G+ is here and with this release, we’ll take the country’s top-ranked 5G service to new heights with faster mobile data speeds. It’s a significant milestone in the evolution of next generation communications in Canada, and we’re proud to lead the way.”

Bell’s announcement comes on the heels of Rogers deploying 5G using 3500MHz spectrum in Nanaimo, B.C.

The federal government auctioned off 3500MHz spectrum licences in the summer of 2021 — the auction results went live in July. That spectrum is considered crucial to delivering the promises of 5G.

Specifically, 3500MHz spectrum occupies part of ‘mid-band’ 5G, also called ‘Sub-6.’ Compared to the ‘low-band’ 5G available in Canada now, mid-band 5G like 3500MHz should offer substantial improvements to speed, latency, and network capacity.

There’s also ‘high-band’ 5G, called mmWave, that can offer even faster speeds than Sub-6 but has a significantly shorter range. In Canada, the focus is on mid-band 5G, which will have a broader impact in both urban and rural regions — mmWave’s range makes it better suited for urban areas.

With Canadian carriers starting to deploy 5G using 3500MHz spectrum, Canadians should start to feel more of the benefits of 5G.

Update 06/17/2022 at 10:37am ET: Rogers, Bell, and Telus have all announced 3500MHz spectrum deployments. You can read about Rogers here and Telus here.

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