Portfolio manager Paul Harris thinks the 5G wave should crest in Canada by the end of the year, which means owning a stock like BCE (BCE Stock Quote, Chart, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:BCE)\u00a0will be to your advantage. As Canada\u2019s largest telecom company, BCE has taken a long time to bounce back from its COVID-19-related downturn last year. The stock languished in the $57 range for much of 2020 and into the start of 2021, well off the $65.00 it was at prior to the pandemic.\u00a0 But over the past five months BCE has made a big push, rising 12 per cent since the start of March. That\u2019s no small shakes for a defensive utility like BCE bought by many investors more for the dividends than for share price appreciation.\u00a0 \u201cAs a telecommunication company in Canada, BCE trades at 18x earnings and it\u2019s got a great yield,\u201d says Harris, partner at Harris Douglas Asset Management, who spoke to BNN Bloomberg on July 22. Harris said the rollout of 5G networks across the country will be good for BCE and the other telcos, as Internet usage will expand with the upgrade. \u201cWhat these companies are going to be benefiting from over the next several years is the moving to 5G. I think that\u2019s the impetus for why you want to own a telecom company. I think that\u2019s where the big gain will come over the next year,\u201d Harris said. \u201cI think that what you\u2019ve seen with these companies is the value in having a strong Internet business because of streaming and all these other things. People want high quality Internet so they can do a lot of stuff, and also people working from home has caused a lot of pressure on their system,\u201d he said. \u201cAnd I think BCE certainly has one of the best systems with data, bar none,\u201d Harris said. BCE has been on the outside looking in as far as this year\u2019s big telco shakeup is concerned, where Rogers and Shaw have proposed a multi-billion-dollar merger. The proposed $16 billion deal has a number of regulatory hurdles to clear. Rogers CEO Joe Natale said recently that the total cost for developing 5G mobile service across Canada could reach $26 billion for Canada\u2019s telecom companies, which Natale says shows how crucial the high capital expenditure build-out by Rogers, BCE, et al is to Canada\u2019s future. \u201c is an incredible number,\u201d said Natale, speaking to Bloomberg News on July 23. \u201cI would challenge most industries in Canada to lay down a number that is that large, in terms of investing in the future prosperity of Canada.\u201d For his part, Harris said the telcos will likely face more pressure to include the servicing of rural areas of the country as part of their 5G network build-out, with many now viewing high-speed Internet as akin to an essential service. \u00a0\u201cI think we\u2019ve realized over this last little while that securing those places is very much more difficult and I think that\u2019s a divide between the haves and have nots, and I think telecom companies are kind of stuck in the middle of that,\u201d Harris said. The Rogers-Shaw deal has been met with stiff criticism from many who see the potential loss of another major telecom company (Shaw is currently the country\u2019s fourth largest) a blow to maintaining a healthily competitive atmosphere. But Harris says there\u2019s more than one way to help out Canadians with their monthly cellphone and broadband bills. \u201cIt\u2019s a big issue that we\u2019ve always had in Canada that we want more players in the market, and it really makes no sense to me,\u201d Harris said. \u201cThis is a very large capex business and it requires a lot of capital, and I think what we have to do is regulate properly as opposed to worrying about having six companies or four or five or whatever.\u201d \u201cI think regulation is better for these companies as opposed to thinking about, \u2018Oh well, let\u2019s add more competition.\u2019\u00a0 When you look at the history, that just led to people going bankrupt and not surviving and then these players get actually bigger for some reason,\u201d he said. \u201cSo, 5G will come to fruition, closer to the end of this year early next year and I think that\u2019s why you want these companies. get a great dividend and I don\u2019t think they\u2019 re excessively expensive at these levels,\u201d Harris said. Ahead of BCE\u2019s second quarter 2021 results due on August 5, the company saw operating revenues rise by 1.2 per cent year-over-year over its first quarter to $5.706 billion. Adjusted EBITDA was up by 0.5 per cent to $2.429 billion while adjusted EPS was down 1.3 per cent year-over-year to $0.78 per share. Analysts had been expecting revenue of $5.62 billion and earnings of $0.73 per share. "Bell's Q1 results represent a promising start to the year, reflecting significantly better performance trajectories and steady sequential quarterly improvement across all our business segments," said Glen LeBlanc, Chief Financial Officer for BCE and Bell Canada, in a press release.