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What’s New in Upcoming Spectrum Deployments?

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

On August 9, 2023 Innovation, Science and Industry (ISED), announced the release of Spectrum Outlook 2023 to 2027, outlining the government’s spectrum release plans for the coming years.

There are many spectrum bands being considered by ISED, including for 5G, backhaul, WiFi and other uses. In the near term, keep a look-out for exciting network deployments relating to additional 3800 MHz 5G spectrum licences, private wireless network deployments (3900 MHz), connected car applications (5900 MHz), and expanded mmWave utilization for small area 5G deployments requiring high bandwidth and performance as outlined below.

Potential service / application


​Current Status

Next Steps

Flexible use including 5G

3650-3900 MHz (3800 MHz)

ISED published SPB-002-22, Policy and Licensing Framework for Spectrum in the 3800 MHz Band, in June 2022.

ISED will be holding the auction for the 3800 MHz band in 2023.

Flexible use including 5G (NCL)

3900-3980 MHz (3900 MHz)*

ISED expects to begin licensing the 3900 MHz band in late 2024 for early access applications and after March 2025 for all other applications.


5850-5925 MHz

(5.9 GHz)

ISED is developing the applicable technical standards for RLAN devices and intelligent transportation systems (ITS), including the licensing framework for ITS roadside units.

Flexible use including for fixed and mobile services

26.5-27.5 GHz (26 GHz), 27.5-28.35 GHz (28 GHz), 37.6-40 GHz (38 GHz)


ISED published SPB-001-22, Consultation on a Policy and Licensing Framework for Spectrum in the 26, 28 and 38 GHz Bands, in June 2022. (Previous decision SLBP-003-19 confirmed flexible use for these bands)

ISED is currently writing the decision on the licensing framework for these bands.

The 3800 MHz band is scheduled for auction in October 2023 with 22 applicants currently qualified to participate (applicants-auction-spectrum-licences-3800-mhz ).

The 3900 MHz NCL licensing framework is expected to support the creation and expansion of new services and applications in industry verticals such as private networks to enable a wide range of automated, robotic and remote operations for real-time monitoring. For example, agricultural and manufacturing sites are likely to make use of spectrum in these bands for automated operations, such as crop tracking or product traceability, which require high levels of bandwidth and network performance. Private networks are also likely to provide operators with the flexibility to satisfy their specific connectivity and coverage needs and manage their own networks to enable quality of services as they deem appropriate.

The NCL licensing is also expected to support private broadband networks on enterprise campuses, such as universities, stadiums and shopping centres. By focusing on approaches that make spectrum easily available in localized areas, and which facilitate deployment in different sectors of the economy, Canadian consumers will benefit from the increased investment and innovation that takes place.

ISED has already adopted a flexible use model for fixed and mobile services in the 26 GHz, 28 GHz and 38 GHz frequency bands where a licensee would be permitted to deploy mobile, fixed or a combination of both services using a single spectrum licence. These bands will continue to be shared with other co-primary satellite services with fixed and mobile services given priority (Decision on Releasing Millimetre Wave Spectrum to Support 5G). ISED has initiated a consultation on the licensing framework for the 26 GHz, 28 GHz, and 38 GHz bands with an auction possible in 2024.

The mmWave bands are expected to support both highly localized mobile 5G services (such as in crowded sports arenas) and new applications from industries such as manufacturing and transportation. For example, mmWave may be well suited for manufacturing sites that use automated operations and robotics, which require high levels of bandwidth and network performance. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has defined 5G new radio bands for the mmWave spectrum including band n257 (26.5-29.5 GHz), band n258 (24.25-27.5 GHz), band n261 (27.5-28.35 GHz) and band n260 (37-40 GHz).

Priorities for spectrum bands


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