In a first for both Samsung and Canada, regional Canadian cellular carrier Videotron has selected the South Korean company’s network hardware to build out its upcoming 5G network — a development that will bring higher data speeds to Quebec and Ottawa next year. Samsung networking hardware hasn’t been used in Canada before now, so this marks an expansion of the company’s international footprint.

The deal calls for Samsung to supply 4G LTE-Advanced hardware, including massive MIMO antenna arrays and dual-band base stations, plus 5G solutions covering mid band (3.5GHz) and high band (28GHz) spectrum. Videotron expects to take delivery of the hardware starting in early 2020 and then launch both LTE-Advanced and 5G services for customers in late 2020, supporting a broad 5G commercial launch in Canada at that time.

“Signing a contract with Videotron to provide 4G LTE-A and 5G network solutions will be marked as a significant milestone for Samsung,” said Samsung EVP and networks business head Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun. “Leveraging the global experience of 5G commercialization from leading 5G markets like Korea and the U.S., Samsung will increase its position in [the] 4G LTE and 5G vendor market.”

While Videotron is only one of many cellular carriers in Canada, serving nearly 1.3 million mobile subscribers, it has served mobile customers in the geographically challenging Quebec area for nearly a decade, as well as offering meaningful competition in Ottawa. Canadians have multiple choices in each market, with some carriers — including Videotron — focusing service on more populated areas, while others appeal more to rural users.

The mid band and high band networking gear should enable Videotron to preserve its current stakes in those markets. By comparison, leading national rival Rogers Communications intends to use recently acquired low band spectrum to cover wide swaths of Canada, including rural and otherwise lightly populated areas, though likely at lower speeds. Rogers began upgrading its infrastructure with Ericsson gear earlier in 2019.