Rogers Communications kicked off a multi-year 5G rollout, pressing ahead with network deployments in four Canadian cities while it waits for compatible devices to hit the market.

Initial targets include the downtown areas of Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, with plans to cover more than 20 additional markets by end-2020.

Next generation service will be offered to customers on the operator’s unlimited tariffs, when compatible devices become available later this year.

In a statement, Rogers Communications president and CEO Joe Natale hailed 5G as “the biggest technological evolution since the launch of wireless in Canada” and claimed the operator will be the “first to bring this innovative technology to consumers and businesses”.

The network will run on 2.5GHz spectrum to start, though it plans to incorporate 600MHz later this year to extend the reach and bolster in-building coverage. Future deployments will also include 3.5GHz and dynamic spectrum sharing, the latter of which will allow other frequencies to be shared between 4G and 5G, it added.

Ericsson is supplying technology and equipment for the project.