President & CEO, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association
This Q&A with Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association President and CEO, Robert Ghiz, explores Canada’s world-class networks and what the future holds with the arrival of 5G.
What is the current state of wireless in Canada?
Canada’s wireless industry is a tremendous success story that is built on the strength and performance of world class wireless networks which extend across our country’s vast geography. Over the past few years, we’ve seen intense competition among national and regional wireless, resulting in a steady decline in the cost of wireless data, even as the demand and consumption of wireless services continues to grow rapidly.
Many Canadians probably aren’t aware of how our networks compare to other countries across the globe. What makes Canada’s networks “world-class?”
Canada has some of the best performing and farthest reaching wireless networks in the world. Our LTE wireless networks are ranked the second fastest in the world (twice as fast as the U.S.)1 and reach 99.5% of Canadians where they live.2 And this superior performance is not limited to urban centres. In fact, a recent report by OpenSignal shows that if rural Canada were its own country, its average download speeds would rank higher than the average speeds across all of the United States and more than 70 other countries worldwide3.
What does the future hold in store?
The most exciting thing on the horizon is the impending arrival of 5G — the fifth generation of wireless networks. 5G, which will be ultra-reliable and offer faster speeds and higher capacity than current 4G networks, will pave the way for new and innovative uses of mobile technology that will significantly improve Canadian’s quality of life and economy. Accenture estimates that 5G will add $40 billion to Canada’s GDP and generate 250,000 permanent full-time jobs by 2026.4 It will also enable new types of services, help industries reduce their carbon footprint, and connect rural communities to the internet.
But deploying 5G will require massive private sector investment — an estimated $26 billion by 20265 — which would be constrained by government policies that focus on short term outcomes. That’s something Canada cannot afford to get wrong.
2. CRTC Communications Monitoring Report 2019