Minister Bains updates plans to improve quality, coverage and price of telecom services

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has engaged with Canada’s telecom service providers to ensure they can continue to provide the services that we all rely on to stay connected.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced a six-month postponement of the 3500 MHz spectrum auction process and its associated key dates to allow the telecommunications industry to maintain its focus on providing essential services to Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The auction is now scheduled to start on June 15, 2021.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada will continue to monitor COVID-19’s impact on the telecom industry and remains open to further changes to the timelines for spectrum auctions if necessary.

In addition, Minister Bains announced that a consultation on the 3800 MHz band would be launched in August. This consultation will give stakeholders the opportunity to comment on how additional spectrum can be used to further support Canada’s world-class wireless infrastructure and progress toward the next generation of connectivity.

In keeping with the Government’s commitment to track progress on the 25 percent reduction in wireless service prices over the next two years, Minister Bains announced that the first quarterly pricing report on 2 GB to 6 GB data plans will be made available online in July 2020.

The Government would like to thank employees in the telecommunications industry for their continued hard work to ensure that Canada’s networks remain strong and resilient, enabling the work-from-home economy while we all do our part to combat COVID-19.

Quotes

“Canada’s telecommunications service providers are doing their part in this difficult time, providing essential services to keep Canadians connected as we face the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic together. A number of providers have raised concerns, and the Government is implementing measures to address them. The Government will continue to reach out to telecommunications service providers-and to the private sector more broadly-to understand their challenges and support them to ensure that Canadians have access to high-quality networks and broad coverage at low prices.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • The 3500 MHz and 3800 MHz spectrum bands are globally recognized as key for 5G networks.

  • The Government’s delay of the 3500 MHz spectrum auction process is consistent with steps taken internationally for similar auction processes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Canadians are continuing to rely on their wireless services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Government remains committed to low prices.

  • The Government of Canada’s priorities for 5G services are high quality, broad coverage and low prices, and holding the 3500 MHz spectrum auction at the right time will support those priorities.

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