As Verizon and AT&T build out C-Band in the US, Canada is moving even quicker.
Three Canadian providers launched 3.5GHz 5G in June, but we’ve already seen expansion updates. Fast-spreading. Bell is turning on 3.5GHz in Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, London, Barrie, and Mississauga.
The new 3.5GHz mid-band 5G transforms 5G in Canada. Although 2020-2021 5G rollouts added a modest amount of spectrum to qualify as 5G, this year’s rollout doubles the quantity of airwaves carriers are using, offering dramatically greater speeds and capacity.
Southern Ontario is Canada’s most populous region. Bell’s areas, all near New York, Ohio, or Michigan, are home to 11 million people, or 29% of the country’s population.
Bell also unveiled a business-focused 5G network in Toronto. Telus, Bell’s competitor, has also touted 5G’s industrial benefits, citing “health, agriculture, energy transportation and manufacturing”
We drove around Toronto this week to examine Bell’s new performance, including Speedtest findings of up to 1.6Gbps and an engineering-mode demo of the standalone network, which demonstrated it works. That 1.6Gbps result is faster than US mid-band networks; T-mid-band Mobile’s network maxed out at 1.3Gbps earlier this year. Canadian 4G networks outperformed US networks.
Bell’s network should work with Samsung Galaxy S22, Pixel 6, or iPhone 12 or 13 phones (Opens in a new window). Unlike in the US, phones don’t have a ‘5G+’ symbol. Bell is working on an icon with phone manufacturers.
Bell’s new coverage map will help you find the difference. The revised map indicates 3500Mhz coverage for Bell’s network in southern Ontario, but not in Ottawa, Montreal, or Edmonton, where Bell would share Telus’ radio network.
Next week, we’ll have more on Canadian 5G+. We release our yearly report on Canadian wireless networks in September.
Bell’s new coverage map has been included to this story.