CWTA President Speaks on Spectrum Policy, MVNOs

June 7, 2019 – Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) president and CEO Rob Ghiz spoke about MVNOs and broader spectrum policy at the 2019 Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto this month, as well as before ISED's Rural Digital Infrastructure Committee in Ottawa. Ghiz warned that MVNOs do not invest in infrastructure or spectrum, and policies favouring MVNOs might lead to “serious decreases in network investment.” Although regulation can in some cases prompt investment, he said it too often has the opposite effect. Addressing the Rural Digital Infrastructure Committee on June 6, Ghiz emphasized that such policies would stifle the expansion of Canada’s world-leading communications infrastructure, disproportionately harming rural communities who seek connectivity more than ever.

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Innovation Minister Addresses 3500 MHz Framework

June 5, 2019 – At the Canadian Telecom Summit on June 5, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains announced changes to the 3500MHz spectrum band, as well as a consultation for a 2020 5G auction. ISED plans to make over 7GHz of millimetre wave available for licence-exempt use this year, another 4.85GHz for licensed use in 2021, while considering a 3800MHz auction in 2022. Next year’s 3500MHz auction will be pivotal for 5G, with the Big Three operators set to be major players. ISED proposed applying “pro-competitive” set-aside or spectrum cap restrictions to the 2020 auction, which would favour regional players and new entrants. The Department made its announcement prior to issuing a new proposed directive to the CRTC, which could fundamentally alter telecommunications regulation in Canada.

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Global 5G

North American Subscriptions 63% 5G Within 5 Years

June 12, 2019 – According to the 2019 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, 63% of North American mobile subscriptions will be 5G-based by 2024, leading the world and surpassing the adoption rates of North East Asia (47%) and Western Europe (40%). The report expects at least 45% of the world's population to have 5G coverage by 2024, whether in the form of mobile subscriptions or home internet. Ericsson increased the number of enhanced mobile broadband subscriptions it expects by 2024, revising the total to 1.9 billion worldwide. By that time, Ericsson's research – conducted by analyzing "over 100 live networks in all major regions of the world" – predicts that 35% of global mobile traffic will be carried on 5G networks.

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Industrial Sector Shows Interest in Private 5G: Report

June 11, 2019 – Private 5G mobile networks are gaining traction with industrial companies, according to a new study by Capgemini. As a "digital transformation enabler", 5G came second only to cloud computing, ahead of both automation and AI. Industrial enterprises are already embracing 5G promises such as enabling more secure and efficient operations, improving connectivity, and fuelling innovation. 47% of companies showed interest in applying for their own 5G network licence, while 33% were actively planning to do so, seeking greater autonomy and security. Two-thirds said they planned to introduce 5G in the first two years of availability (over a quarter of Canadians within 12 months). 74% of companies with annual revenues above $10B planned to implement 5G in two years; 57% for firms making between $500M-$1B.

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Connected Cities Could Generate $17 Trillion by 2035

June 10, 2019 – 5G will generate trillions of dollars in direct, indirect contributions and productivity gains, according to a new study commissioned by InterDigital. The study examined growth opportunities for next-generation technologies in urban environments, as well as how 5G will underpin future vertical services. Through until 2028, it identified increased revenue opportunities in three areas:
  • $2.4 trillion in direct contributions (driven by end-user subscriptions for connectivity services)
  • $866 billion in indirect contributions (including supply chain increases from devices, infrastructure, applications, advertising, and other products and services)
  • $3.2 trillion in productivity gains (such as workforce efficiency based on widespread connectivity)
Noting the importance of connected cities, the study suggested that operators should take bold steps to deploy 5G mobile broadband, since introducing 5G in urban areas would create a "new wave of enterprise vertical use cases" and the dense populations of cities would let operators better monetize 5G services.

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FCC's 24GHz and 28GHz Auctions Bring in over $2.7B

June 4, 2019 – The results of both Federal Communications Commission millimetre wave spectrum auctions have been released, now that the 24GHz auction is complete. US Cellular spent relatively evenly between the two – allocating $129M to 28GHz and more than $126M to 24GHz. T-Mobile invested nearly $39.3M in 28GHz and $803M in 24GHz spectrum. AT&T spent almost $1B on 24GHz, while Verizon spent $506M on 28GHz, but only $15M on 24GHz. Other participants included Dish Network, who acquired an additional $14.7M of millimetre wave, and Windstream, who spent $26.6M over the course of both auctions. In total, more than $2.7B was raised between 55 bidding companies.

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In-Flight 5G Services for Canadian Aircraft by 2021?

June 4, 2019 – In-flight internet provider Gogo plans to deploy a 5G network to deliver highspeed aviation services using advanced beamforming technology, together with a proprietary modem and unlicensed 2.4GHz spectrum. The air-to-ground network should be commercially available by 2021 – initially serving business aircraft and regional and smaller mainline jets, before expanding to larger flights. Although aircraft will send and receive cellular signals, passengers will log into Gogo's service using Wi-Fi. Compared with satellite, the service will reduce both operational costs and latency, improving in-flight response times.

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France to Avoid Excessive Pricing in Next 5G Auction

June 3, 2019 – France will not push for the highest possible prices in its upcoming 5G auction. Maximizing price is a "short-term strategy that hurts the ability of operators to invest," said Agnes Pannier-Runacher, junior economic minister. "5G infrastructure is an important element in the competitiveness of the country.” Following Italy’s $7.6B auction, telecoms warned France against seeking high bids that would leave them less money for network-building. The French auction will begin this autumn, with 5G frequencies to be allocated in 2020. France will not encourage mergers among its four mobile operators: Orange SA, Free (Iliad SA), SFR (Altice Europe NV) and Bouygues SA’s telecom unit. According to Pannier-Runacher, a four-player market “allows a level of competition that’s given us prices that are very competitive.”

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