Major 5G news out of Canada today as Ericsson was announced as one of five global digital technology leaders selected to drive a national- and regional-government-supported 5G technology network corridor called ENCQOR: Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Québec and Ontario for Research and Innovation.

The CAD 400million five-year initiative will develop a world-class collaborative platform for accelerating the transition to game-changing 5G technology in Quebec, Ontario, and Canada by bringing together a wide network of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industry, government, researchers and academia in both provinces collaborate on the creation and commercialization of new and disruptive products, processes, and services.

ENCQOR will focus on research and innovation in the field of 5G disruptive technologies, on adoption initiatives and system uses. Through 5G ENCQOR aims to transform the capabilities of SMEs to create and compete in the global marketplace.

EKHOLM: "5G IS REAL...FUTURE HIGHWAYS WILL BE DIGITAL"

Speaking at the ENCQOR press conference launch in Ottawa, Canada, today, Ericsson President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, said 5G had long-since moved from theory and a buzzword, and into reality, citing the 39 memorandums of understanding that Ericsson has already signed with service providers globally.

“We estimate the number of 5G subscriptions will reach one billion already by the end of 2023,” he said. “When we talk about critical national infrastructure, we often talk about roads, bridges and railroads. But the future highways will be digital. We believe 5G will make it clear that mobile networks need to be looked at as a critical national infrastructure as well.”

Ekholm praised the scope of ENCQOR and its potential results for Canada. 

“ENCQOR is a unique program because as it is an open platform to allow testing of concrete business cases based on the new capabilities 5G will bring,” he said. “With ENCQOR Canada takes a leading role in finding future business cases for 5G. We’re working hard each day to make 5G a reality, both here and around the world.  And I can’t wait to see what we will build together, starting now with ENCQOR.” 

5G: BOLD, VISIONARY AND DECISIVE

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said the initiative will make Canada a global leader in innovation and result in thousands of jobs.

“Technology is changing the way we live, work and engage with one another, and we are in a global innovation race. To prepare for the future, we must be bold, visionary and decisive. That’s why our government is investing in 5G technology,” he said.

Dominique Anglade, Quebec Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, said: “The ENCQOR project will create an important synergy between businesses - particularly businesses in the information and communications technologies sector - and the research and innovation community. Boldness, creativity and an innovative spirit are the hallmarks of Quebec, and it will now have a strong presence in the new reality brought on by 5G.”

Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, said: “This exciting 5G initiative will help our businesses - here in Ontario, and across Canada - capitalize on the vast potential of high-speed communications technology to expand their horizons, accelerate their innovation and transform the way we all live and do business.”

5G IS GOOD FOR OPERATORS

Graham Osborne, Head of Ericsson Canada, said: “The introduction of 5G will enable new services, new ecosystems, and new revenue streams for operators across Canada. R&D work done here in Canada has been a large contributor to Ericsson’s global leadership in 5G already, and we are excited to now bring this innovative work to Canada as part of the ENCQOR partnership.”

In addition to Ericsson, the other global technology ENCQOR partners are Ciena Canada Inc., Thales Canada Inc., IBM Canada, and CGI. The Canadian government and the provincial governments of Quebec and Ontario have part funded the initiative.

The Canadian provincial coordinators for the initiative are Prompt, CEFRIO, and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).