Tbaytel successful at federal spectrum auction, bolstering 5G coverage in northern Ontario

By Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tbaytel has tripled its 600 MHz holdings to bolster its 5G coverage in northern Ontario after the results of a recent spectrum auction by Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Canada.

The federal government announced the winners of its residual spectrum license auction Jan. 25 with Tbaytel receiving two licenses for 600MHz, bringing its total of the highly sought-after spectrum to 30MHz and more possibilities for the people and businesses Tbaytel serves in northern Ontario.

Spectrum is essential for providing varying bands required in order to address coverage, capacity and latency across the territory. Tbaybel acquired 190MHz of 3500 MHz in past auctions, which Tbaytel President and CEO Dan Topatigh said is ideal for urban and suburban demands.

“This auction was a competitive bidding process and Tbaytel is proud to have been able to win valuable spectrum that strengthens our wireless network in this competitive Canadian telecommunication landscape,” he said.

Last year, it was announced that the federal government and those responsible for managing licensed spectrum assets would be auctioning unsold spectrum from previous auctions held, said Kory MacLeod, VP Chief Technology & Information Officer at Tbaytel

“Over the last number of years, there’s been a number of auctions. Auction really essentially gives the successful candidates the right to use that particular spectrum for mobility purposes,” he said, adding that the two licenses within the 600MHz band were being auctioned through a blind sealed bid format.

“So we don’t know at this point who else might have participated or may have been interested in the 600 megahertz spectrum,” MacLeod said.

He explained that a successful candidate is essentially the highest bidder for those respective licenses.

Tbaytel’s success at tripling its 600 MHz holdings is integral to Tbaytel’s current and future expansion of 5G services, especially by providing deep indoor and rural coverage in the challenging northern Ontario terrain, said MacLeod.

“Spectrum is a fixed finite resource, and really a prerequisite to operating the network,” he said. “You know, [at] Tbaytel we operate multiple mobility technologies in a very challenging terrain of Northern Ontario. This new spectrum will be deployed throughout our existing 5G network nodes in the upcoming months. And it will be included in all planned 5G expansion, including regional expansion, which is going to provide additional coverage and capacity and significantly help our rural footprint.”