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Companies in the accelerator will be able to use Telus and Blackberry technology to build Internet of Things (IoT) products. This is BlackBerry’s second accelerator with Ottawa-based L-Spark. (BetaKit)

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Talking point: With the global IoT market expected to hit US$1.4 billion by 2021, according to the International Data Corporation, it makes sense for corporations like BlackBerry and Telus to invest in a hub where they can preview emerging technologies from the next generation of companies. It’s akin to corporations using venture capital investment in startups to work better with them or eventually acquire the technology; PwC Canada and CB Insights’ past four reports on Canadian VC activity show corporate VC participation increased every quarter in 2018 as they sought to work more with startups.

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The telecom giant will make the investments over three years. On Friday, Xplornet announced it will spend $500 million over five years on rural internet. The investments follow a November 2018 auditor general’s report saying Ottawa had “no plan” to get high-speed internet, despite spending years working with telecoms to do so. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Both Telus and Xplornet are using the federal government’s new Accelerated Investment Incentive, which incentivizes companies to make large capital investments by letting them claim a first-year deduction on that spending three times the regular amount. Telus, however, will be using the savings to invest in communities the government designates as underserved. It’s a smart branding move for the company, but it’s also a savvy business decision. Underserved communities are the ones that need the types of services Telus sells. In addition, the government often provides financial support for telecoms that invest in underserved communities.

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Telus said that while it has not picked an equipment vendor for its 5G wireless network, banning the Chinese firm could make its roll-out longer and more expensive. The telecommunications company posted revenues of $3.76 billion and profits of $368 million—up 6.3 per cent and four per cent respectively—for the fourth quarter of 2018, according to financial statements also filed today. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Telus uses Huawei equipment in its 3G and 4G networks, and said the supplier is cost-effective. Bell’s setup also includes the Chinese tech, although it said last week that a ban would not be a problem. Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains confirmed earlier this month that Bell and Telus have been talking to Public Safety Canada, which is conducting a security review. The government is reportedly still months away from a decision, so the real cost of a ban won’t be known for some time.

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Bains said the government has an “open-door” policy when working with carriers, who have been sharing their perspectives with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. “Ultimately, different carriers have different levels of investments with different technologies. Some with Huawei and some not with Huawei,” Bains said. (MobileSyrup)

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Talking point: This is Bains’s first public statement acknowledging the stance of Canadian carriers related to Huawei; Bell and Telus have defended the use of Huawei technology in Canadian networks. Canada is facing increasing pressure since its arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is now facing extradition to the U.S. Canada has a month to respond to the extradition request, which was given on January 29. Chinese media compared Canada to a “frightened bird” for dismissing John McCallum, former China ambassador. This morning, another unrelated sting against Huawei was reported by Bloomberg, which saw the FBI getting involved after a smartphone-glass creator expressed concern that the company was trying to steal trade secrets.

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TeraGo says it will be the first Canadian operator to sell 5G technology. The company currently offers high-speed internet to business clients, but is looking to enter the residential market and compete with the Big Three by offering higher speeds to enable 5G-based tech. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: TeraGo’s ambitions are small, but they have significant implications. For now, the company is looking to offer high-speed broadband to a small number of urban high-rises. It doesn’t have the capacity to compete with the Big Three at scale—the company has a market cap of about $160 million and 200 employees; Bell alone has a market cap of $37 billion and over 50,000 employees. If TeraGo is successful, it will be positioned to offer 5G tech to businesses and a handful of residential clients well before most Canadians have access. Currently, the federal government isn’t holding a 5G spectrum auction until 2020. That’s well behind peer countries: the U.S., for example, launched its first high-band 5G spectrum auction in November 2018.

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Speaking anonymously, executives at the two telecom giants said they are optimistic Ottawa won’t ban Huawei from participating in 5G networks, despite the U.S., Australia and New Zealand all doing so. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Bell and Telus have invested heavily in Huawei equipment over the past few years, and stand to lose over $1 billion if they have to remove it. When U.K. telecom giant BT announced it would rip out Huawei equipment early this month, the Chinese company quickly promised to spend US$2 billion to assuage security concerns. Pressure is mounting on Canada to join the rest of the Five Eyes and limit Huawei’s access to sensitive infrastructure. This move by Bell and Telus to try and put that off is a not-so-thinly veiled attempt for financial support from the government to defray costs if Ottawa does limit Huawei.

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The network is initially rolling out in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal, and will be in over 20 additional markets by the end of the year. The telecom also announced the founding of the 5G Future Forum, an international consortium of telecoms tasked with setting 5G interoperability standards. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Rogers beat Telus and Bell to a 5G launch. The other two firms are waiting for the government’s decision on whether or not it will ban Huawei’s participation in building Canada’s 5G infrastructure. Rogers is working with Ericsson on its 5G rollout. Huawei wasn’t mentioned in either of the press releases Rogers put out for today’s announcements. However, the one thing nearly all the 5G Future Forum members have in common is a certain distance from the Chinese telecom when it comes to 5G. KT Corporation, Telstra, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced they aren’t using Huawei’s technology for their 5G networks. While Rogers is undoubtedly first to the punch here, this victory is still preliminary, and there’s plenty of time for other Canadian telecoms to catch up. For one thing, customers can’t yet use the network, because no devices have been authorized for it yet.

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On Mirko Bibic’s first day as head of Canada’s biggest telecom, he described Huawei as a “great partner.” He also asked for “clarity” from the federal government on whether or not Huawei will be banned from the country’s 5G networks. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: The Liberals have repeatedly said a decision on Huawei will not be a political one. However, Bibic’s appeal comes as the government faces growing pressure from the Conservatives and the U.S. to ban the Chinese firm. Washington is pushing countries around the world to restrict the company, which it says is a national security risk, but China is threatening trade action if bans are imposed. Australia and the U.S. have imposed restrictions on the company and Germany and the U.K. are mulling bans. Bell and Telus, which both use Huawei equipment extensively in their networks, could face at least $1 billion in costs if they’re ordered to remove Huawei’s material.