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Rogers (CAN) 5G Spectrum and Roll out January 16, 2020 00:00

Today, Fierce Wireless had an article examining Rogers 5G roll out announcement.  The article states that Rogers will initially deploy using 2.5 GHz spectrum followed by 600 MHz and 3.5 GHz.  Although we are familiar with these bands from a US spectrum allocation, it is important to understand several of the differences between the Canadian allocations and the US allocations.  

First, we are going to look at the 2.5 GHz band using the Spectrum Grid from our Canadian Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool.  Canada's 2.5 GHz spectrum is configured to the international standard with paired (FDD) LTE Band 7 and TDD band 38/41.  In each of the 4 deployment cities, Rogers controls FDD and TDD spectrum.  I believe that Rogers will be deploying the TDD/Band 41 spectrum blocks due to its compatibility with Sprint's 5G deployment and the Band 41 ecosystem.  Rogers has 20 MHz of spectrum available in each of their roll out markets which should deliver about 30% of the speed performance that Sprint is achieving on their 5G launches.

Second, Rogers will roll out 5G using their 600 MHz low band spectrum.  This spectrum is configured identically to the US allocation with 7 x 10 MHz FDD channels in LTE Band 71.  Rogers has 10 MHz channels available in all of their roll out markets except Toronto where they have a 20 MHz channel available.

Third, Rogers will roll out 5G in Canada's 3.5 GHz band.  In the US, this spectrum is primarily allocated as CBRS spectrum requiring the use of a Spectrum Access System (SAS) with multiple users.  The entire CBRS band is 150 MHz while the Canadian 3.5 GHz band is 200 MHz broken up into 20 - 10 MHz (TDD) channels.  Canada will be licensing all of this spectrum to carriers, while the US model is shared spectrum.  Since the 3.5 GHz auction has not occurred, Rogers spectrum ownership in these markets is unknown.  The 3.5 GHz auction will occur sometime in 2020.