A new band of spectrum 600 MHz may be available for mobile use in Canada.
There is an ongoing process in most countries to use the 700 MHz band for mobile broadband replacing over-the-air television broadcasting. But there will be a growing demand for still more spectrum on lower frequencies for mobile broadband. The Canadian government has now taken the first step in that direction with a new consultation round.
By May 2015, the amount of spectrum available to provide mobile services to Canadian consumers will have grown by almost 60 percent since early 2014. This is the largest amount of spectrum ever released in such a short time in Canada. Canadian consumers rely on their smartphones and tablets to connect to people and information instantly. Industry Minister James Moore has introduced new measures that will make more spectrum available to Canadians than ever before and ensuring consumers have access to world-class wireless networks.
To deliver on this achievement, the following new measures were announced:
The Advance Wireless Services AWS-3 spectrum auction will begin on March 3, 2015, to enable the delivery of fast, reliable service on the latest smartphones, tablets and mobile devices and to encourage sustained competition.
A path will be provided for mobile use in the 3500 MHz spectrum band, while maintaining existing fixed-wireless Internet services in rural areas.
A plan will be developed to enable use of the AWS-4 spectrum band so that a new competitor can offer more choice to Canadians, especially those in rural and remote areas.
An additional 2100 MHz of spectrum will be made available to support the infrastructure wireless companies need to deliver the services that Canadians want.
A more efficient and consistent process for new licences in the 24, 28 and 38 GHz bands will be established.
Also the Government will be seeking views on making a new band of spectrum, 600 MHz, available for mobile use. A consultation on making this band available for commercial mobile use while enabling our over-the-air broadcasters to remain on the air. This spectrum carries signals well over long distances, goes through structures better than higher frequency bands, and is excellent for delivering commercial mobile services in both urban and rural areas.
Under the proposed plan, Canada would work with the United States to relocate over-the-air television (OTA TV) broadcasting stations, freeing up additional spectrum for mobile services. Should Canada proceed, this joint initiative will allow existing Canadian OTA TV operators to continue broadcasting while maximizing the availability of commercial mobile spectrum. This consultation is the first step in a multi-year process, focused on the technical aspects of the proposed repurposing of spectrum in the 600 MHz band.