Rogers acquires BAI Canada and plans Toronto subway 5G rollout

Rogers 5G Toronto subway

Canadian telco Rogers Communications has acquired BAI Canada, which holds the exclusive rights to build the Toronto Transit Commission’s wireless network.

Following the purchase, Rogers says it will now be able to build out a 5G network to the Toronto subway system and places a particular emphasis on enabling access to 911 services across the entire subway system, which currently is only available on station platforms, concourses, and approximately 25% of the tunnels.

5G coverage for wireless services beyond 911 will then rollout ‘over time’ – Rogers expects the process to take two years to complete because of the ‘limited overnight construction windows’ available to do the work.

Ultimately, the project promises to deliver mobile voice and data services in all 75 stations and around 80 kms of the Toronto’s subway system. We’re told the first step will be developing a phased deployment plan with TCC, including network design, architecture and rollout logistics for the network improvements in the stations, concourses and in all of the subway tunnels.

“We know safety is top of mind for Torontonians. Residents and visitors expect wireless connectivity when they’re travelling on the TTC’s subway system,” said Ron McKenzie, Rogers’ Chief Technology and Information Officer. “The agreement to acquire BAI Canada is a significant first step in modernizing and expanding the existing network to deliver enhanced 5G wireless service to millions of transit riders throughout the entire subway system in Canada’s largest city. As the country’s biggest investor in 5G with Canada’s largest 5G network, Rogers is proud to be making these investments to deliver world-class connectivity for Torontonians.”

Rogers expects its purchase of BAI Canada to close in the next two weeks. Of course, it’s not the only acquisition action its been engaged in of late – last week it announced it had finally received government approval for its takeover of rival Canadian telco Shaw, two years since the C$26 billion deal was first unveiled.

The merger it not without its critics – upon the news Canadian consumer group OpenMedia described it as ‘the largest blow to telecommunications competition and affordability we’ve ever seen.’ A more cautious approach amid this controversy might have been to hold off on further big corporate acquisition announcements for a bit – but It seems Rogers opted to waste no time in slapping its wallet on the M&A counter again.


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