Bell Canada said it was ready to launch, but that it was not the ‘right time’ to do so

2020 was supposed to be the year of 5G for Canada, but the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a significant spanner in the works.

Bell Canada has announced that its initial 5G network is ready to be switched on, but have deemed the ongoing pandemic as the wrong time to do so.

“Frankly we don’t think that it’s the right time right now to officially launch it for marketing purposes," explained BCE CEO Mirko Bibic in the company’s quarterly conference call. "I just don’t think that customers are paying attention to this right now and that’s not what is top of mind for our customer base. They have other priorities understandably."

The economic impact of the coronavirus, which stunning national economies around the world, is sure to have played a part in this decision.

Bell Canada’s rival Telus seems to be having similar problems when it comes to launching 5G. The company announced it was would “rolling out its 5G network shortly” back in February. However, this network will use Huawei infrastructure, which could prove a big problem if Canada finally decides to ban or limit the use of this equipment.

The Canadian government has been reviewing Huawei’s role in their national 5G infrastructure since last year, and the lack of decision is likely the cause for Telus’ 5G delay.

This leaves Rogers as the only Canadian operator to have launched 5G so far, doing so in handful of cities back in March using Ericsson equipment.

The Canadian government is expected to auction 3.5 GHz spectrum in Q4 of this year, which will likely see all of the country’s major operators jump at the chance to expand their spectrum holdings. Many similar auctions around the world have been delayed due to uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, but so far the Canadian auction is scheduled to continue as planned.


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