Government of Canada to make more spectrum available to support high-quality wireless services

News release

Decision on the 3800 MHz spectrum band will support more 5G and rural wireless services

May 21, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians are relying on wireless services for work, school, finances and health care, making access to high-quality and affordable services essential. That is why the Government of Canada is making spectrum available to encourage competition in the wireless services market, improve rural connectivity and ensure the effective deployment of 5G technologies.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the decision to repurpose the 3800 MHz spectrum band to support 5G services. This decision will allow for the deployment of new technologies, which will lead to the creation of good jobs and new products and services for Canadians.

The decision will also help connect more Canadians to high-speed Internet. With large amounts of spectrum maintained for satellite services in remote areas and the amount of spectrum available to support wireless broadband services increased from 50 MHz to 80 MHz, Canadians living in rural areas will have better access to high-speed networks.

Making the right spectrum available will support the communication needs of Canadians in all parts of the country. The changes to the 3800 MHz band will support both urban and rural wireless services as well as the deployment of 5G.


“Our government is committed to making the right spectrum available to support the highest quality wireless services and the rollout of 5G technologies. We know these services will drive innovative new technologies, from clean energy to telemedicine, while also creating good jobs and new products for Canadians living in rural and remote areas.”
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • The 3500 MHz and 3800 MHz spectrum bands are globally recognized as key for 5G networks.

  • The 3500 MHz spectrum auction is scheduled to start on June 15, 2021.

  • The 3800 MHz auction will take place in early 2023.

  • Satellite services will be limited to the 4000 to 4200 MHz portion of the band by 2025, with certain exceptions.

  • The decision allows existing fixed satellite services providers to continue using the whole 500 MHz in more remote areas that rely on satellite for critical services, including broadband connectivity, and requires protection for existing services from future 5G services in these areas.

  • Wireless broadband service licensees in urban areas will transition by 2025, while licensees in rural areas will have until 2027.

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has made $7.2 billion available for rural and remote Internet infrastructure to help ensure all Canadians have access to fast and reliable Internet, no matter where they live. Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $1 billion over six years, starting in 2021–22, for the Universal Broadband Fund to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects.

Associated links


John Power
A/Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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