Canada’s big four operators are aiming to launch 5G services in the first half of 2020

Canadian telcos have spent close to $3.5 billion on 5G spectrum at the country’s recent auction, following 54 rounds of bidding. Canada was auctioning off spectrum in the 600MHz band, which will help to underpin

Canada’s department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said that the total raised exceeded market expectations.

Rogers spent $1.725 billion on spectrum, making it the biggest spender at auction. Rogers obtained 52 licences, giving it a 5G presence in every Canadian province.

“This spectrum is vital to the deployment of 5G in Canada and we are well positioned to bring the very best of 5G to Canadians,” Rogers chief executive Joe Natale said in a statement.

Telus spent $931 million on 12 licences, while Canada’s biggest operator BCE Inc did not win any. Bell decided to abstain from the auction process on the grounds that it had already acquired enough spectrum for its 5G portfolio.

In an attempt to level the playing field for smaller, rural providers, Canada’s big three operators were banned from bidding on 43 per cent of the spectrum up for auction.