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Canadian Wireless Carriers and Bands

In this post we will explain what cellphone bands and frequencies mean. We’ve chosen to focus on Canadian carriers here, but it applies worldwide to all carriers. We’ll explain how to pick an accessory like or such that it works on your network or with your carrier.








What are bands in cell phones and why are they important?





A band is quite simply a range of spectrum. Within the context of cellular, i.e. 3G and 4G technologies that most people are familiar with, carriers purchase licenses to operate in specific bands, or regions of spectrum.





Whether you’re buying a new cellphone or a signal booster it is important to know what band your carrier operates in and ensure that are able to operate in the same bands. Otherwise you might find, like I once did, that your phone simply won’t work!





Canadian Wireless Carriers and Bands





We have compiled a list of Canadian carriers and the bands they operate in. Carriers have licensed bands of wireless spectrum and transmit wireless signals in these bands. Strictly speaking though, a carrier will likely license only a portion of a band and is able to operate only in that specific region. Moreover bands are also typically licensed geographically.





Below is a list of carriers and the bands that they operate a specific technology in.





Carrier3G4G5G
Bell2, 52, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 2966
Chatr2, 54, 7, 12
Eastlink44, 13
Fido2, 54, 7, 17
Freedom44, 7, 66
Rogers2, 54, 7, 1741, 66, 71
Sasktel2, 54, 13, 41
Shaw44, 13, 66
Tbaytel2, 5, 207
Telus2, 52, 7, 12, 13, 17, 29, 4566
Videotron44, 17
Carriers and Frequency Bands



When you read this table you will notice that many carriers appear to be operating in the same band. For instance, Rogers and Telus both use band 2.





How is it possible for carriers to utilize the same band?





First it’s important here to distinguish between these bands and actual frequency ranges. Band 2 covers a range of frequencies. It includes the ranges 1850-1910 MHz and 1930-1990 MHz. The frequency range 1850-1910 MHz is used to communicate from the cell phone to the base station. The frequency range 1930-1990 MHz is used for communication in the reverse direction – i.e. from the base station to the cell phone.





Band 2




Carriers such as Rogers and Telus operate their systems within these bands. So phones on the Rogers network would use a specific frequency within this range. Phones on the Telus network would also use frequencies within this range that are different from those used by Rogers phones. They would have to – otherwise there would be a lot of radio interference!





If you buy for use on the Rogers or Telus network, it’s important to ensure that it operates in bands that are common to both networks. A phone that operates in Band 2 for instance, could be used on either Rogers or Telus. And in fact it’s the only band that will support both 3G and 4G systems on both networks.





How do I know what band my phone is?





Every phone has a complete list of bands it is able to operate in. You have to review the Specifications of the cellphone to find this information. Let’s take a quick look at specifications to understand how bands are specified. This phone works on the following 3G, 4G bands and the prefix ‘B’ for ‘band’, is often used





3G UMTS





  • B1 (2100)
  • B2 (1900)
  • B4 (AWS)
  • B5 (850)
  • B8 (900)




4G FDD LTE





  • B1 (2100)
  • B2 (1900)
  • B3 (1800)
  • B4 (AWS)
  • B5 (850)
  • B7 (2600)
  • B8 (900)
  • B12 (700)
  • B13 (700)
  • B14 (700)
  • B18 (800)
  • B19 (800)
  • B20 (800)
  • B25 (1900)
  • B26 (850)
  • B28 (700)
  • B29 (700)
  • B30 (2300)
  • B66 (AWS-3)




Based on the above, the can be used on any Canadian carrier’s network.





Frequently Asked Questions





What LTE band is used in Canada?





LTE is the same as 4G and the bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 29, 41, 45 and 66 are used for it. Obviously which band is used depends on the carrier you subscribe to.





Who uses band 66?





Canadian carriers that utilize band 66 are Bell, Freedom, Rogers, Shaw and Telus.





What is the frequency band of 5G?





5G is designed to operate anywhere from 600 MHz to 6 GHz (FR1) and 24 GHz to 52 GHz (FR2). Some carriers are using bands 41, 66 and 71 to run 5G systems. There is also a region of spectrum around 3.8 GHz that will be utilized for 5G starting in Fall of 2021.





















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