Canada reveals 5G Plan: Spectrum auctions, streamlined regulations


Canada will be auctioning several spectrum bands and potentially revising regulations as the country shifts toward 5G. These details were revealed in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)’s recently published Five Year Spectrum Outlook.

The first auctions will be in March 2019 for spectrum in the 600 MHz band. Midband spectrum in the 3500 and 3900 MHz range will hit the auction block in 2020, while spectrum above 20 GHz will be available toward the end of 2021.

The ministry also expressed a willingness to revise cell tower regulations in the coming years to compensate for increased usage of small cells. Such changes would mirror the evolution of FCC regulations earlier this year after lobbying from tower builders and telecoms companies.

Additionally, “ISED will develop licensing policies giving consideration to encouraging service provision in rural areas,” their statement read. What these policies may be is not yet clear. When polled by the government, companies offered a variety of solutions, ranging from simply opening up more spectrum to “pro-competitive” measures such as aggregation limits or spectrum set asides.

Finally, the ministry will be taking into account the much expected explosion in all things Internet of Things and release more spectrum specifically for unlicensed bands.



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