Canadian mobile operator Telus will launch a 5G network in Canada later this year using equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies, Telus’ CFO Doug French said in an interview with the Financial Post.
“We’re going to launch 5G with Huawei out of the gate,” the executive reportedly said.
“We will continue to work with the government to make sure we meet all their standards, but we don’t see anything slowing us down at the moment,” he added.
Telus confirmed that its request for proposal (RFP) process in the 5G segment process is underway and that the company continues to explore supplier diversification.
Canadian telcos had announced plans to launch commercial 5G services during 2020. The Canadian government is still in process to define if it will apply any restrictions to the involvement of Huawei in the country’s 5G network rollouts due to security allegations.
French also said that Telus will follow whatever new rules the federal government sets.
Bell Canada recently announced it expects to start the construction of its 5G network this year, using equipment from Finnish vendor Nokia, the company’s CEO Mirko Bibic said during a conference call with investors.
The executive said that Bell needs to be able to work with other equipment suppliers including Ericsson, Huawei and Cisco. “It is always prudent to have multiple supply sources and we are always looking for that flexibility,” Bibic said.
Bell confirmed it is ready to deliver initial 5G services in urban areas across Canada as soon as next generation smartphones become commercially available.
The executive said that Bell will continue to enhance 5G access speeds, capacity and coverage as additional 5G wireless spectrum, including in the 3.5 GHz band, becomes available this year through the federal government’s spectrum auction process.
Bibic said that the award of that spectrum will allow local telcos to launch real 5G technology in 2021.
Rival operator Rogers Communications has recently begun rolling out 5G network in select cities around Canada using equipment from Swedish vendor Ericsson.
Rogers’ initial 5G cities are Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The telco said that it will eventually expand into over 20 more markets by the end of 2020.
In a recent conference call with investors, Rogers’ CEO Joe Natale said that the company expects to start deploying spectrum-sharing technology later this year. The executive said that the deployment of this technology will allow Rogers to use its current 4G spectrum for the provision of 5G.
In April last year, the Canadian government raised C$3.47 billion ($2.6 billion) in the sale of 104 licenses of 600 MHz spectrum. Rogers Communications dominated the auction, winning 52 licences in every province and territory for $1.725 billion.
Telus spent $931 million to secure 12 licenses, while Bell, Canada’s largest telecommunications provider, did not win a single license. Bell said it decided not to buy any 600 MHz spectrum because it already has enough in other bands.