Telus rolling out 5G service to Vancouver suburbs

Cell tower in Metro Vancouver | Rob Kruyt

What happened: Telus expands 5G offerings to some Vancouver suburbs

Why it matters: The B.C.-based telecom giant plans to deploy the next-generation wireless service to 50 communities by the end of 2020

After first focusing on its attention on the city where it’s headquartered, Telus Corp. (TSX:T) is now rolling out 5G service to Vancouver’s suburbs.

The next-generation wireless network is set to activate Friday (October 9) in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Surrey and White Rock.

Telus began its national 5G roll-out in June, starting with Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto.

The Canadian telecom giant initially estimated its 5G network would be available in 26 additional markets by the end of the year.

But as of October 7, the company has expanded that estimate to 50 communities.

Bell Canada [BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE)] began offering 5G in Vancouver shortly before Telus, while Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B) deployed its 5G network in the city’s downtown in January.

Amid ongoing espionage concerns over Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Telus chief financial officer Doug French had told the Financial Post in February his company was still planning to roll out 5G gear from the Chinese tech company by the end of 2020.

But on June 2, Telus and Bell left Huawei in the dust by announcing they were tapping European vendors Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Nasdaq:ERIC) and Nokia Corp. (HEL:NOKIA) to build out their 5G networks.

Telus has since confirmed it’s also tapping Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to help deploy its 5G products.

Uncertainty over the future of 5G in Canada has centred on a precarious political situation in which Ottawa is being pressed by intelligence allies to ban Huawei’s 5G equipment due to concerns over vulnerability to spying.

Canada also faces pressure from Beijing following the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 in connection with a U.S. extradition request.

Two Canadians living in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were detained soon after by Chinese authorities.

Telus customers subscribing to the company’s Peace of Mind plans will not pay additional fees to access the 5G network, however, they will need smartphones that support the technology.