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Telus switches on 5G in five cities; adds Samsung to 5G vendor roster

19 Jun 2020

Canada’s Telus has announced the launch of its first-phase 5G mobile network in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and the Greater Toronto Area, with plans to expand to an additional 26 markets across Canada throughout the remainder of the year. 5G access is being offered to Telus customers at no additional cost on post-paid packages with unlimited data and no overage fees. Initial peak 5G mobile data speeds on the non-standalone (NSA) network reach up to 1.7Gbps, available on 5G-ready devices including the Samsung Galaxy 5G S20 series, LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen and Motorola Edge+. Telus’ website says that 5G will deliver connection speeds ‘up to 100 times faster in the future’ and will eventually support up to one million devices per square kilometre, supported by its fibre network backbone.

Telus also revealed that it selected South Korea’s Samsung as a network infrastructure partner ‘with the goal to provide transformational 5G mobile services’, following previous announcements that it was working with Ericsson and Nokia as 5G network rollout partners.

Telus CEO Darren Entwistle said that the fledgling 5G network ‘will bridge digital divides and drive innovation across businesses, government, healthcare, education and social pursuits, whilst creating an estimated 250,000 jobs and contributing CAD40 billion [USD29.5 billion] annually to Canada’s economy.’ Eros Spadotto, Executive VP of technology strategy at Telus, added that the 5G network ‘will set the foundation of Smart Cities and Industry 4.0, autonomous vehicles, next generation virtual healthcare, immersive education, agriculture technology and next level gaming.’

Telus’ launch comes a week after Bell Canada’s 5G NSA network switch-on, covering the same five cities and also partnering Nokia and Ericsson. TeleGeography notes that Bell and Telus make extensive use of bilateral infrastructure sharing agreements, and in April 2020 added a nationwide 2×10MHz ‘AWS-3’ 1700MHz spectrum band to their shared resources, which is being utilised for extra 5G capacity. As shown in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in provinces such as British Columbia and Alberta, Telus owns the whole 2×10MHz block – won at auction in 2015 – while in Atlantic Canada Bell holds the spectrum, and in certain licensing regions e.g. Southern Ontario, Bell and Telus own half (2×5MHz) of the AWS-3 block each.

Canada’s first 5G mobile network was launched by Rogers Communications in March, in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.

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