Bell Canada to launch 5G in 28 additional markets this year: CEO

Originally Published by RCR Wireless News 
Author: Juan Pedro Tomás

Canadian telecommunications operator Bell expects to expand its current 5G network to 28 additional markets this year, Mirko Bibic, president and CEO of Bell Canada, said during a conference call with investors.

Bell had announced the launch of its commercial 5G service in the country in June. The carrier’s 5G service was initially available in Montréal, the Greater Toronto Area, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

“I’m really pleased with our competitive positioning here on 5G, because our speeds are 1.7 Gbps, which is fastest in the industry. And we’re going to be even faster next year when 3.5 GHz spectrum becomes available for mobile,” the executive said.

Bibic said that Bell is seeing a lot of growth potential in the 5G space in both residential and enterprise segments.

“I see growth potential in the consumer space, like when we upgraded from 2G to 3G, 3G to 4G etc. There’s always a spike in penetration, smartphone adoption, especially usage, and that drives revenue. There will be a multitude of use cases on the enterprise side and on the IoT side, which we’ll be in a great position to capitalize on, especially when you think about our distribution advantage with BBM (Bell business markets) and our enterprise strength.”

Earlier this year, Bell Canada selected Ericsson 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) technology to support its nationwide 5G mobile and fixed wireless access deployment. The carrier had started the construction of its 5G network this year, using equipment from Finnish vendor Nokia.

Rival operator Rogers Communications had already begun rolling out 5G network in select cities around Canada using equipment from Swedish vendor Ericsson. Rogers’ initial 5G cities are Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The telco said that it will eventually expand into over 20 more markets by the end of 2020.

In a previous conference call with investors, Rogers’ CEO Joe Natale said that the company expects to start deploying spectrum sharing technology later this year. The executive said that the deployment of this technology will allow Rogers to use its current 4G spectrum for the provision of 5G.

Meanwhile, mobile operator Telus said it is rolling out its initial 5G network in Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, and the Greater Toronto Area, and will continue to expand to an additional 26 markets across Canada throughout the rest of the year.

Telus’ main providers in the 5G field are Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung.

In June, the government of Canada announced a six-month postponement of its 3.5 GHz spectrum auction process, to allow the telecommunications industry to maintain its focus on providing essential services to Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government confirmed that the auction is now scheduled to start on June 15, 2021.

In April last year, the Canadian government raised C$3.47 billion ($2.6 billion) in the sale of 104 licenses of 600 MHz spectrum.

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