Telus to roll out 5G in 187 more B.C. communities by year’s end

Telecom giant earmarking additional $54b in infrastructure, operations spending

Photo: Rob Kruyt, BIV

Nearly 200 more B.C. communities will be tapping 5G services from Telus Corp. (TSX:T) by year’s end, part of an additional $54 billion in nationwide infrastructure and operations spending the Vancouver-based telecom giant is earmarking through to 2024.

Telus revealed Thursday it would be rolling out its 5G network to another 187 communities in B.C. and 333 communities in the rest of the country.

The company estimated the expansion would cover 70% of the country’s population.

Back in March, Telus sold off 51 million shares priced at $25.35 each as part of a bid to raise $1.3 billion.

The company said at the time the fresh capital was needed to further build out its 5G and broadband internet offerings. 

With the latest dollars earmarked, the additional broadband services are expected to be available in another one million homes and businesses by the end of 2021.

Anywhere from $500 million to $700 million is expected to be spent this year, while $750 million to $1 billion would be carried over into 2022.

The spring effort to raise more cash came just over a week after rivals Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI) and Shaw Communications Inc. (TSX:SJR) announced plans to merge.

Rogers’ potential acquisition of Shaw would see Telus overtaken as the nation’s second-largest telecom provider based on market capitalization, and comes at a time telecom companies are ramping up 5G deployment.

Rogers said it would commit $2.5 billion to expanding its 5G network in Western Canada.

Telus’ initial 5G rollout in June 2020 trailed Rogers by five months and Bell by one week.

Telus had long been aligned with Huawei on its 5G ambitions, but Telus and Bell eventually left the Chinese company in the dust last June when they announced they were tapping European vendors Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Nasdaq:ERIC) and Nokia Corp. (HEL:NOKIA) to build out their 5G networks.

Telus is also tapping Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to help deploy its 5G products.

torton@biv.com

@reporton