Economic impacts of accelerated 5G deployment and adoption in Canada

The authors advised telecommunications company SES and wrote a report submitted to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) providing analysis and quantification of the effects on the Canadian economy of accelerating the repurposing of mid-band spectrum in Canada for 5G use. Canadian wireless carriers have some mid-band spectrum available for 5G use, but other spectrum is in use by satellite providers, who will have to relocate their services to other spectrum when the mid-band frequencies they occupy are auctioned. The report estimates the effect on Canadian GDP of creating incentives for the satellite service providers to accelerate their relocation efforts.

The authors applied data for 12 countries from which the authors determined the difference in actual and projected 5G penetration rates between countries with at least 80 MHz of mid-band spectrum available per carrier and those with less available mid-band spectrum. The authors used findings from these data to project the 5G penetration rate that would occur in Canada if the relocation of mid-band spectrum is accelerated (so that Canadian wireless carriers can use it to deploy 5G sooner) and if it is not accelerated. The authors then applied their estimate of the incremental impact of increased penetration of new wireless technology on GDP from a multi-country regression analysis to the estimated differential in 5G penetration rates in Canada to conclude that accelerating the repurposing of the 3800 MHz spectrum band in Canada from December 2025 to December 2023 would increase Canadian GDP by $7.4 billion over three years, or by approximately $2.5 billion annually.