Federal government launches consultation on repurposing 3800Mhz spectrum

The government is launching the consultation given the demand for mid-band spectrum

The federal government has launched a consultation on repurposing the 3800Mhz spectrum band to support 5G services.

The proposed changes look to make 250MHz of the spectrum available for 5G. The government notes that mid-band spectrum is important for next generation wireless services due to its favourable propagation and capacity characteristics.

“Given the demand for mid-band spectrum and the expected availability of a 5G equipment ecosystem, ISED is proposing changes to the spectrum utilization of the 3800MHz band,” the government outlined in a press release. 

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) recently implemented a flexible use licensing model for the 3500MHz band allowing for the deployment of both fixed and mobile services.

“The capacity of flexible use networks in the 3500MHz band could be further increased by making portions of spectrum within the 3650-4200MHz band available for similar use,” the government notes.

“ISED is of the view that repurposing portions of the 3650-4200MHz band that would allow for a similar flexible use licensing model would foster more efficient and intensive use of mid-band spectrum to facilitate and incentivize investment in next generation wireless services.”

It’s internationally recognized that access to additional spectrum is needed to meet the exponentially increasing demand for wireless services, according to the government. It notes that several countries have been considering portions of 3650-4000Mhz for commercial mobile services.

The government notes it’s committed to ensuring that all consumers and businesses benefit from greater choice and that it will do so by making sure changes to the 3800Mhz band support urban and rural wireless services, and the deployment of 5G.

“Having the right spectrum available and ensuring the effective deployment of 5G technology will be key tools in making sure all Canadians benefit from these new technologies, regardless of where they live,” said Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains in a press release.

There will be a 60-day comment period for the consultation, which will be followed by a 30-day reply period.

The government outlines that 3500Mhz and 3800Mhz spectrum bands are globally recognized as key for 5G network. The consultation comes as the government recently delayed the 3500Mhz spectrum auction to June 15th, 2021.

Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada