Telus has announced the deployment of 3500MHz spectrum that will allow “customers in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton and Victoria [to] enjoy an enhanced 5G experience.”
The Vancouver-based national telecom’s deployment comes on the heels of similar announcements from Rogers and Bell this week. Telus says the 3500MHz spectrum will help improve capacity, reduce latency, and bring faster speeds to users. The carrier plans to continue deploying 3500MHz spectrum through 2022 and 2023.
“The deployment of our 3500 MHz spectrum is an important step to unlocking the potential of 5G, particularly as it fuels innovation across different industries,” said Tony Geheran, executive VP and COO of Telus, in a press release.
Moreover, Telus noted that the 3500MHz spectrum will form the backbone of its rural wireless high-speed internet service. As it deploys 3500MHz spectrum across Canada, those living in rural communities will be able to access home internet speeds of up to 100Mbps. Telus plans to invest an additional $70 billion over the next four years in infrastructure, operations, and spectrum to support rural and urban customers.
Finally, Telus noted in its release that “customers located in areas covered by 3500 MHz spectrum, using compatible 5G devices, can take advantage of an Unlimited 5G+ plan to experience even faster speeds.” On Telus’ website, the carrier currently lists three plans, an ‘Unlimited 5G’ option and two ‘Unlimited 5G+’ plans. One of the main differences between the 5G and 5G+ plans is the maximum speed — both have speed caps, with the former offering speeds up to 250Mbps and the latter offering speeds up to 1Gbps. In other words, it sounds like you’ll need one of Telus’ more expensive plans to get the full benefits of 3500MHz spectrum.
It’s great to see 3500MHz spectrum finally starting to roll out. The Canadian government auctioned off the spectrum last summer, and now that carriers are deploying it, Canadians should start to really feel the benefits of 5G. 3500MHz spectrum is considered crucial to 5G — it occupies part of ‘mid-band’ 5G, also called ‘Sub-6.’ It differs from ‘low-band’ 5G, which uses a similar spectrum to existing 4G networks.
Mid-band 5G can provide higher capacity, speed, and lower latency over a decent range. There’s also ‘high-band’ 5G, or ‘mmWave,’ that can offer even faster speeds over shorter ranges. U.S. carriers have focused on mmWave deployments while Canada and other markets have prioritized mid-band. The next major chunk of the mid-band spectrum will be 3800MHz, which is currently in consultation.