Bell is poised to turn on its 5G network delivered over the 3,500Mhz mid-band spectrum, the company announced on June 15.
The upgraded service has been dubbed “5G+” to differentiate itself from its current 5G service delivered on the 1,700MHz and 2,100MHz bands. Other nuances aside (such as carrier bandwidth and total available spectrum), a general rule of thumb for telecommunication is that the higher the frequency, the higher the throughput.
In the press release, Bell wrote that 5G+ is optimized for demanding apps and services, especially in use cases such as streaming, gaming, and video conferencing. The company promises “peak theoretical download speeds” of up to 3Gbps in certain areas.
As one of Canada’s largest carriers, Bell secured 271 licenses for C$2.07 billion in the 3,500MHz spectrum auction that concluded in July 2021. With the purchase, it now has 30 per cent of the total mid-band 5G spectrum available.
However, it’s worthy to note that Wednesday’s announcement is only a prelude to the actual deployment. More than anything, it’s likely a knee-jerk response to Rogers’ announcement on the same day. On Wednesday, Rogers declared itself to be Canada’s first carrier to deploy mid-band 5G service, starting with Nanaimo, British Columbia.
Rogers launches faster 5G service on 3500MHz mid-band spectrum
But unlike Rogers, Bell wants to begin its own deployment in Toronto, one of the biggest markets for national carriers. The company wants to bring 5G+ coverage to around 40 per cent of Canadians by the end of 2022.
So what’s the holdup? Likely the same reason why neither Rogers nor Telus has begun their deployment in major cities. Mobile Syrup reported that Telus, along with other carriers, is waiting for the current spectrum license holders in urban areas to move their services off the band before deployment can begin.