Rogers Communications Inc. is expanding 5G technology to 50 new markets, though most Canadians have yet to upgrade to devices compatible with the network.
The telecommunications company said Tuesday the technology that promises near-instantaneous speeds for downloading, uploading and streaming will be launched in a mix of small towns and metropolitan centres across Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan as it edges closer to its goal of bringing 5G to 60 markets by the end of the year.
Hamilton, Waterloo, Gatineau, Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria, Surrey, Regina and Saskatoon will all gain access to 5G, building on the company’s January roll-out in downtown Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
“We have plans to bring this everywhere, but of course, you have to start somewhere,” said Kye Prigg, Rogers senior vice-president of access networks and operations, in an interview.
“You’ll continue to see that evolving over the next few months. There’ll be more and more markets added and more and more releases coming around this.”
Telecommunications companies have long hyped the coming of 5G and Rogers has called it the “most transformative network technology offered since wireless services were introduced in 1985,” but most Canadians are still using networks from earlier generations.
Rogers is offering 5G to customers on its Infinite and unlimited business wireless plans for no charge until March 2021, but they must have 5G-ready devices.
So far Rogers’s only compatible devices are the Samsung Galaxy’s Note20 series, Z Flip 5G and S20 series, along with the Motorola Edge+ and LG Velvet.
Asked about why Rogers is rolling out 5G with so many Canadians still on devices not compatible with the network, Prigg said “you could have said the same thing back in the 3G days or 4G days.”
“It’s important to get the technology out there,” he said. “It’ll become more and more mainstream as people upgrade their phones and so forth, so more people will get 5G-capable phones in their hands.”
Rogers said users on the network will be treated to ultra-low latency, which is the lag between sending a request and the network responding.
As 5G evolves, that time will drop to one millisecond — roughly 400 times faster than the blink of an eye — and will allow for a massive increase in the number of connected devices on a network.
Experts predict 5G will eventually power smart cities, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality innovations and devices that have yet to be invented.
© The Canadian Press