Bell extends 5G leadership with additional high-value 3500 MHz wireless spectrum
MONTRÉAL, July 29, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell today announced it is acquiring significant additional mid-band, flexible-use 3500 MHz wireless spectrum in the recently concluded auction by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Essential to Canada's ongoing transition to 5G communications, these high-capacity airwaves unleash the full potential of Bell's 5G advantage, extending Bell's leadership in delivering enhanced 5G digital experiences to Canadian consumers and businesses in urban, rural and remote communities.
Bell is acquiring 271 licences for 678M MHz-POP of 3500 MHz spectrum – critical to enabling the full potential of 5G – for $2.07 billion. Together with existing holdings, Bell now possesses 1,690M MHz-POP, or 37% of this high-value spectrum available to national wireless carriers, acquired at an industry-leading average blended cost of $1.25 per MHz-POP, in line with Bell's network leadership objectives and the expectations of the financial community.
"Underscoring the Bell team's goal to advance how Canadians connect with each other and the world, acquiring this significant additional 3500 MHz spectrum will drive Bell's ongoing leadership in 5G, a critical component in our multibillion-dollar program to accelerate investment in Canada's next-generation network infrastructure and services," said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada. "Leading the way in 5G is a great reflection of the Bell for Better initiative and our focus on delivering the economic, social and environmental benefits of broadband network leadership to Canadians everywhere."
Launched in major centres across Canada last year and now first to offer 5G roaming in the US, Bell 5G is ranked by multiple analysts as Canada's fastest mobile network (most recently by Ookla in its 2021 Speedtest Awards). Bell 5G is currently available to approximately 35% of the national population, and is expected to reach 70% by the end of 2021. Bell's Wireless Home Internet (WHI) service is bringing broadband Internet access to small towns and rural locations in Atlantic Canada, Québec, Ontario and Manitoba, and will also be enhanced with 5G capability later this year.
Bell is acquiring 30% of total 3500 MHz spectrum available to national wireless carriers at auction, including spectrum in major and secondary urban markets across the country, which, together with existing holdings, secures all the 3500 MHz spectrum necessary for Bell to continue leading the roll out of 5G across Canada. This includes 52% of available spectrum in WHI rural markets.
"With our strong 3500 MHz spectrum position, we're ready to take the country's top-ranked 5G service even further, leveraging the full capabilities of the technology to help bridge the digital divide with enhanced broadband access for more rural and remote communities," said Stephen Howe, Bell's Chief Technology Officer. "The speed and capacity of 5G, coupled with Bell's unparalleled fibre backhaul infrastructure and rapidly expanding network footprints, offers infinite service possibilities for consumers and business users, from augmented reality and machine learning to smart homes, vehicles and cities, and we're eager to deliver these benefits to Canadians no matter where they may live."
Bell's accelerated infrastructure investment
The Bell 5G advantage
Bell also leads the industry in research and development, including projects under way with Université de Sherbrooke and Western University to develop new 5G consumer and business services. 5G delivers important environmental benefits, with the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association estimating 5G technology can support 1000x the data traffic at half of current energy consumption over the next decade. These sustainability advantages are a prominent part of Bell's plan to achieve carbon neutral operations in 2025.
Through Bell for Better, we are investing to create a better today and a better tomorrow by supporting the social and economic prosperity of our communities with a commitment to the highest environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. This includes the Bell Let's Talk initiative, which promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let's Talk Day and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research and workplace leadership initiatives throughout the country. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.
Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
SOURCE Bell Canada
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