Canada’s leading rural fixed-wireless broadband provider Xplornet Communications has sublicensed 40MHz of AWS-4 spectrum from TerreStar Solutions covering most of the rural households across Canada’s ten provinces to support a national 5G wireless broadband network rollout. The ‘mid-band’ (2000MHz-2020MHz and 2180MHz-2200MHz) spectrum agreement with TerreStar covers 37 ‘tier three’ and 13 ‘tier four’ areas for a period up to March 2035, with an option for Xplornet to extend the term of the agreement should TerreStar’s AWS-4 licences be renewed. The spectrum band can be used to provide fixed or mobile broadband.
Xplornet says the spectrum investment will enable it to develop the latest wireless technology to deliver 5G-based services with speeds of 100Mbps and affordable unlimited data plans for rural broadband customers across Canada. The operator is currently working with manufacturers to develop 5G-ready radio access and consumer premise equipment, meeting 3GGP standards. The AWS-4 downlink spectrum will be paired with available uplink spectrum, including frequencies currently held by Xplornet. AWS-4 is one of a number of bands that will be deployed to deliver 5G services, with Xplornet holding mobile and fixed licensed spectrum in the 3500MHz, 2500MHz, 600MHz, 700MHz and AWS-1 bands.
Tim Dinesen, CTO at Xplornet, said: ‘Having more mid-band spectrum is an important next step in our plan to advance the availability of wireless broadband services to rural Canadians. We have made significant investments in our broadband network in recent years and are eager to put this AWS-4 spectrum to work, complementing our existing spectrum holdings.’ Xplornet intends to invest over CAD500 million (USD379 million) in the next five years.