Positioning Canada for the Next Wireless Revolution – Lessons Learned from the 5G Canada Conference

Ottawa, February 23, 2018 – The 5G Canada Council recently concluded its 5G Canada 2018 conference in Ottawa. Guests at the event shared a variety of insights on the potential revolution that the next generation of wireless networks, 5G networks, could bring to Canada.

Unlike current wireless networks, which primarily focus on data throughput or bandwidth, 5G networks will be built to meet a diversity of service demands. Whether providing Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) to enable faster download speeds, Ultra-reliable and Low-latency Communications (uRLLC) for services that require near real-time communications such as autonomous vehicles and other mission critical remote management services, or Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) that facilitate the connection of large numbers of sensors to enable smart cities and smart agriculture, 5G will drive innovation, efficiency and productivity to a wide range of business and industrial sectors of the Canadian economy. Canadians will have the opportunity to enjoy compelling new services and products that will change the way they work, live and play.

Canadians will want these services. The Canadian economy will need these services. It is clear from the conference that many stakeholders will need to work together to ensure 5G will be a success for Canada. Here are some important themes that emerged from the Conference:

• Canada starts from a strong position – our nation is a global leader in the deployment of advanced 4G/LTE networks
• The 5G roadmap is not exact – while some plans for deployment have been announced, and 5G standards are taking shape, no single country has figured out the precise map of what a network “should” look like; we can develop a “made-in-Canada” solution that is right for our country
• 5G will affect every Canadian – “smart cities” dominate tech headlines, but Canadians in rural areas will benefit as well; for example, through the deployment of smart agriculture services using 5G networks
• To accommodate the variety of service demands that the next generation of networks will face, more spectrum will have to be allocated for wireless services and backhaul
• Streamlining of regulations and approval processes for the construction of broadband infrastructure is required – 5G networks will require thousands of small antennas and other equipment that would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to install under the current patchwork of regulatory regimes
• Continued collaboration will be key – an ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders – government at all levels, facilities-based carriers, industrial participants such as network equipment and handset manufacturers – will be essential to understand the evolving challenges and opportunities in 5G, to tackle issues as they emerge and ensure Canada remains among the global leaders in wireless

Through the 5G Canada Council, CWTA is committed to building a supportive and dynamic 5G ecosystem in Canada. Through research, cross-sector collaboration, and at events such as last week’s conference, all can pull together, to maintain and build Canada’s global leadership in advanced wireless networks and make the most of the tremendous potential 5G networks will hold for Canada’s future.