Last month, Telus applied and was approved to lease part of the AWS-4 spectrum band in Canada from Terrestar. Terrestar owns both parts (uplink and downlink) of the AWS-4 band for all of Canada. In Canada, the AWS-4 band is still configured for duplex (FDD) operation where in the US, Dish received approval to operate all of the spectrum for downlink.
Telus will be leasing the spectrum in the most urban areas of Canada, not including Toronto with typically 20MHz spectrum leases. Telus is leasing this spectrum over a population of 13 million, roughly 38% of Canada's population. Below are geographic maps indicating each of the areas where Telus will be leasing spectrum. In Canada spectrum leases are called subordinations of licenses. We will discuss why this spectrum is important to Telus below with outputs from our Canadian Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool.
From the Spectrum Grid below, Telus is acquiring the downlink AWS-4 spectrum which lies within Band 66 which is now widely deployed in the US for both the AWS-1 and AWS-3 bands. This will provide immediate service improvements once the network is constructed because handsets have been supporting Band 66 for several years. The remaining part of the AWS-4 spectrum (for uplink), would fall into Band 23, which has little to no handset support.
We can see a second reason for acquiring this spectrum by looking at the Company Analysis module, detailing Telus's spectrum holdings in each of these Tier 4 service areas.
In many of these Tier 4 service areas (similar to US counties), Telus has limited or no BRS (2.5GHz) spectrum. The BRS spectrum they do control in these markets is paired (FDD) Band 7 rather than the TDD Band 41 that Sprint controls in the US. Overall, this spectrum acquisition provides Telus with an immediate capacity improvement since they can expand their Band 66 downlink capacity by 10 or 20MHz.
The map below shows the amount of 600MHz spectrum that Rogers added as a result of the auction which closed on 4/4. Twelve companies competed in the auction which ran from March 12, 2019 to April 4, 2019. The auction raised $3.47 billion. We have reflected the results from this auction in our May 2019 - Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool (CAN).
The Low Band Population Weighted Average spectrum depth chart below illustrates the average amount of 600MHz, 700MHz, and Cellular spectrum controlled by the major Canadian carriers. Rogers is clearly outpacing the other carriers in low band spectrum, providing them a path to 5G similar to T-Mobile's US strategy; broad coverage and better capacity than LTE.
The licensed POPs chart illustrates how much of the Canadian population, Roger's can reach with each of their available low band frequencies. They have near nationwide (35M POPs) reach with both 600MHz and Cellular frequencies, but they can only reach about 22M POPs with their 700MHz spectrum. Roger's can use the 700MHz A and B channels to potentially reach 62% of the Canadian Population and they can use the 700MHz C channel to reach an additional 9% of the Canadian population. In the US, 700MHz A is predominantly used by T-Mobile reaching up to 85% of the US population, while AT&T primarily uses the 700MHz B and C channels reaching up to 90% and 95% of the US population respectively.
Allnet Insights & Analytics is excited to announce an expansion of our industry leading spectrum ownership analysis products to cover the Mobile Carrier (600MHz to 3.7GHz) frequency bands for Canada. We are releasing not only a March 2019 new release, but historical monthly releases going back to December 2017. The Mobile Carrier Tool not only provides the spectrum allocation details for all of the Canadian Mobile Carrier spectrum but it provides 21 different analysis modules and charts to analyze and compare each wireless carrier's spectrum assets by channel, market, frequency band, band classification, and LTE band class.
The Canadian Spectrum Grid details the spectrum ownership and subordinate licensing (leases) for each service area (Tier 4). The service areas can be seen on the example map below which indicates the spectrum owners for the Broadband Radio Service (BRS) A1 channel.
Below is the Canadian Spectrum Grid for the Mobile Carrier low band spectrum. All of the 600MHz spectrum is currently controlled by ISED Canada (ISD) leading up to the March 12, 2019 auction start. Purchases of the Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool (CAN) during March 2019 will receive a complementary release after ISED Canada announces the auction results.
For more information on the Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool (CAN) please email us at email@example.com.