Rogers is flipping the switch on its next-generation 5G network across Manitoba, with data coverage from the company now available in parts of Winnipeg and Brandon.
Announcing details Friday, the telecommunications giant said residents and businesses will have access to unlimited data plans on any compatible device — adding digital capabilities that are significantly more advanced than previous wireless technology.
The announcement means Manitoba customers will now have their pick to get high-end internet from any one of Canada’s big three cellphone firms: Bell, Telus and Rogers.
"On behalf of the Manitoba government, we welcome the expansion of Rogers," said Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training. "Along with the benefits it will bring to our economy and communities, this expansion will bring new technology to our businesses and contribute to Manitoba’s long-term competitiveness."
Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest is also "thrilled" to see the expansion into his city. "We are extremely pleased to see business investment in our province towards more robust technology for individuals and businesses alike," he said Friday.
More than 2.2 million Canadians are already on data plans that support 5G from Rogers, the company said Friday, which has invested around $30 billion over the past 35 years to build its network in the country.
The new technology will continue to increase that network, said Rogers — allowing instantaneous access for applications like augmented and virtual reality, smart cities, robotics and driverless vehicles.
Industry investments into 5G networks — including Rogers’ expansion into Manitoba — are expected to contribute an estimated $40 billion annually to the country’s economy and create 250,000 permanent new jobs by 2026, according to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.
"This next-generation technology is critical to fuel productivity and innovation in the future as we reset the competitive landscape in Manitoba and for Canada globally," said Larry Goerzen, president of the Prairies region for Rogers Communications, in a statement.
"The arrival of 5G in Manitoba will change the way we live, work and do business here."
Temur Durrani reports on the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for this Free Press reporting position comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.