Bell Launches 5G Wireless Network

The latest generation of wireless tech has arrived

By Erika Morris

Bell Canada recently became the latest service provider to roll out 5G (fifth-generation) wireless technology to Montreal, the Greater Toronto Area, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

The technology provides 5G-enabled smartphones with faster data speeds and response times. Bell says this technology will affect society in every area from smart cities and smart vehicles to gaming and virtual reality. In a press release, the company said it offers 5G coverage “six times greater than [that of] the next largest network, the biggest selection of 5G-capable devices available, and faster data speeds than even our award-winning Advanced LTE network.”

Before 5G technology can reach its fullest potential, thousands of small microcell boxes will have to be placed within hundreds of metres of each other on structures such as bus stops and billboards. To speed things up, Bell partnered with Western University to create an advanced 5G research centre.

Bell is the second telecom company to establish 5G technology, after Rogers Communications Inc. launched its service in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal earlier this year.

Bell Canada announced that Sweden-based Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia would be its suppliers for radio access network equipment. Immediately, Telus Corp., which uses Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. equipment, announced that it, too, was teaming up with Ericsson and Nokia.

The federal government is still assessing Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G technology because the Chinese company’s relationship with China’s government raises security concerns. The United States has said it will limit intelligence sharing with allied countries that use Huawei equipment for 5G networks. Huawei denies that its equipment can be used to spy for China, as the U.S. alleges.

Bell Canada said access to 5G will be free for all Bell mobility customers until March 31, 2021. After the free trial, the cost will be $10 a month for subscribers.

Photo: iStock/DancingMan.