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Canada Confirms Initial 5G Spectrum Auction will Take Place in 2020

The government of Canada confirmed plans to auction key wireless spectrum for the provision of 5G service in 2020.

“We believe this puts us in a relatively strong position relative to our international peers,” Canadian press reported the country’s Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains as saying. “We will still be ahead of Australia and Germany and will be among the top five countries when it comes to making spectrum available for 5G.”

Bains also said that the government will also auction spectrum in the 600 MHz band next year. The government also announced plans to award millimeter-wave spectrum in 2021.

However, local carrier Telus recently called for the auction of 3,500 MHz spectrum in 2019. Telus’ CTO Ibrahim Gedeon said that Canadian consumers will be at a disadvantage if the government delays holding the auction of the 3,500 MHz spectrum until 2020.

Canadian carriers have been tested 5G technology in recent months in order to pave the way for the future commercial launch of this technology.

Last month, local telco Shaw Communications completed its first 5G technical trials in Calgary, in partnership with Finnish vendor Nokia. The 5G trial used 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum and 3.5 GHz spectrum.

The 5G trials were conducted using pre-commercial equipment at Shaw’s Barlow Campus Technology Centre in Calgary. As part of this trial, Shaw also conducted comparative testing between 28 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum to better understand the interoperability between two of the bands. Rohde & Schwarz measured 5G and LTE signals in parallel with its scanner-based backpack prototype solution at 28 GHz and 3.5 GHz to assess coverage for both technologies.

Also, Rogers Communications had recently announced a multi-year initiative through which it aims to deploy 5G technology in partnership with Ericsson. Rogers’ network plan includes the continued rollout of its gigabit LTE network with technology and equipment that is based on the latest global 3GPP standards, including 4×4 multiple-input-multiple-output, four-carrier aggregation and 256 QAM. The Canadian operator also plans to boost and densify its network with small cells and macro sites across the country.

Through the partnership with Ericsson, Rogers will trial 5G technology in Toronto and Ottawa, in addition to select cities over the next year.

Earlier this year, Huawei and Telus had launched a 5G wireless-to-the-home (WttH) trial service using a specially-designed 5G customer premise equipment (CPE) unit. The vendor said the trial took place in downtown Vancouver’s “5G Living Lab,” a joint initiative between Huawei and Telus. Huawei said the use of new 5G CPE is a new step towards the launch of consumer-oriented, 5G-ready products to market.

In March this year, the governments of Canada, Québec and Ontario announced a $400 million initiative to develop a 5G corridor. Ericsson, Ciena, IBM, Thales and CGI are supporting the initiative, which joins previous public and private sector 5G-related projects in Canada.

The Canadian government said that key use cases for the next-generation network technology include smart cities, healthcare, education, connected and autonomous vehicles, entertainment and media and the internet of things. – RCR Wireless

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