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Is 5G Available in Canada? (Updated with Interactive Maps)




Article Summary

Rogers, Bell, Telus have launched 5G networks across Canada and coverage coming online next year. Quebec-based Videotron has also announced 5G coverage, and other regional carriers will roll-out service over the next two years. Samsung and Apple offer 5G-capable smartphones that work on all Canadian 5G networks. Bell 5G and Telus 5G also support LG's line of 5G smartphones. Non-carrier 5G smartphones including the OnePlus 8 Pro 5G are not officially supported.


5G Plans in Canada


5G networks offer faster downloads, lower latency, and better performance. As exciting as that is, Canada has vast geography and millions of people who need signal while cell towers are being upgraded. New technologies also have new limitations and the complete roll out will still take a few years. So, when will your carrier get 5G?


5G Canada Service Providers


There are currently four 5G service providers in Canada: Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, Telus Mobility and Videotron. Rogers went live with its first 5G New Radio (NR) network in downtown Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in early 2020, while Bell and Telus activated their 5G service the following June in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. There are no plans to charge extra for 5G access... besides the need to buy a new phone.


Videotron announced its 5G service in late 2020, but coverage is limited to Montreal for now. It will expand over the next year throughout the province, but it's unclear if customers will be able to use 5G on nationwide partner networks.


If you use discount prepaid carriers like Public Mobile and Chatr who provide services with slower data speeds, you won't be able to take advantage of 5G speeds. Other low-cost MVNO's including Cityfone and SimplyConnect include full-speed 4G-LTE data, but prioritize price over performance. Cell phone plans with 5G access are probably several years away for these carriers too.


Fido 5G, Koodo 5G and Virgin Mobile 5G could arrive in 2021 or later. These three mobile service providers use the same 4G LTE networks as Rogers, Telus and Bell but typically don’t offer premium features – like 5G service – until a later date. These flanker brands might charge a “5G Surcharge” for access.


Prepaid carriers like Public Mobile, Lucky Mobile and Chatr offer discounted service with slower data speeds, so customers won't be able to take advantage of 5G speeds in the foreseeable future. Other low-cost Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) like Cityfone and SimplyConnect include full-speed 4G-LTE data but prioritize price over performance. 5G cell phone plans are probably a few years off for these carriers too.


Freedom Mobile 5G, Shaw 5G, SaskTel 5G and other regional network operators may launch 5G deployment in 2021. Next-generation mobile networks by these companies will probably be available in 2021 or beyond. Wireless internet service providers, including Xplornet and Eastlink, plan to use 5G technology to expand their network capability both to home broadband internet and mobile phones. Wireless home broadband internet features many benefits over satellite or long-distance fibre-optic, so 5G broadband internet may arrive this year.


When is 5G Coming to Canada?

Carrier Network Possible Launch

Bell Mobility Bell Available

Rogers Wireless Rogers Available

Telus Mobility Telus Available

Fido Rogers 2021

Koodo Mobile Telus 2021

Virgin Mobile Bell 2021

Freedom Mobile Freedom 2021?

Shaw Mobile Freedom 2021?

SaskTel SaskTel 2021+

Videotron Videotron Available

What Cell Phone Plans Include 5G?


Rogers Infinite, Telus Peace of Mind and Bell postpaid customers get access to 5G at no additional cost. Videotron 5G is still new and it's not clear which plans will offer 5G access. However, we expect that the "All-Inclusive" plans starting at $60/month will include 5G service. Rogers and Bell originally indicated a "5G Fee" will be added as soon as March 2021, but both companies have since backtracked. When 4G-LTE first rolled out nearly a decade ago, it was also exclusive to premium carriers and accompanied by a premium charge.


Unlimited data plans are your best choice when subscribing to 5G service since you'll never have to worry about overage fees. All three nationwide carriers offer unlimited plans with 5G coverage in select markets and 4G LTE service available nationwide. Videotron All-Inclusive plans aren't unlimited, but do include 100GB of overage data per year.


Are There 5G Prepaid Plans in Canada?


There is no 5G service available on prepaid plans from Rogers, Bell or Telus. You must subscribe to Rogers Infinite, Telus Peace of Mind or Bell postpaid plans. All postpaid plans are available month-to-month when you bring your own phone (BYOP). Two-year contracts are only required when financing a new device.


Visit https://www.whistleout.ca/CellPhones/Guides/5g-availability to view interactive map


Can 4G LTE Be Upgraded To 5G?


Your 4G phone cannot be upgraded to support Canadian 5G networks; you will need to buy a new phone if you want 5G service. The only smartphones capable of upgrading to 5G are the Motorola moto z3 and moto z4. These devices offer a "moto mod" which attaches to the back of the phone, giving you only access to the Verizon 5G network in the United States. There are no upgrade solutions that allow 4G cell phones work with 5G networks in Canada.

Many cell phone towers can be upgraded to 5G but need to have compatible hardware. 5G towers currently use 4G LTE radio antennas because they share the same broadcast "spectrum."

"Spectrum" is a way to describe the radio signals that cell towers use—think of it like channels on your FM radio. 5G networks will eventually improve connectivity with next-gen features like more radio channels, higher frequencies and Massive MIMO.


5G Phones in Canada


A small collection of 5G-capable smartphones are available in Canada, but the list is growing rapidly:


  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy S20 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G (Bell only)

  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen (Discontinued)

  • LG Velvet 5G

  • Motorola edge+

  • Google Pixel 5

  • Google Pixel 4a with 5G

  • Apple iPhone 12 Mini

  • Apple iPhone 12

  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro

  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max



Here's what Canadians can expect in the year ahead.


Samsung 5G Smartphones


In 2020 Samsung released 5G-ready Galaxy devices and were the first 5G-enabled smartphones available to the Canadian market. The Samsung Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note20 families work on Rogers 5G, Bell 5G and Telus 5G networks. Both foldable Samsung Galaxy Z models (Flip and Fold) released updated versions this year that now support 5G. Smaller Canadian carriers sell the Galaxy 5G lineup too but only connect to 4G LTE networks for now. The newest Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphone lineup also include support on all Canadian 5G networks.


Samsung has other 5G models released globally, but "grey-market" smartphones are not officially supported on Canadian networks. If you bring an out-of-market 5G smartphone to a mobile provider, they can check compatibility with their network but a 5G connection will not likely be supported.


LG 5G Smartphones


The LG V60 5G Dual Screen was Canada's second 5G smartphone model to be released but has since been discontinued. WhistleOut experts also reviewed the popular LG Velvet 5G. LG 5G smartphones feature some of the same high-end features as the Samsung devices but costs hundreds of dollars less.


Motorola 5G Smartphones


The newest premium flagship smartphone from Motorola leaves little to be desired. The Motorola edge+ features a fast CPU, largest battery, a compact size, powerful camera and stunning Endless Edge display. It's also the first 5G Motorola smartphone in Canada, available at Bell, Telus, Koodo and most recently Rogers. It supports 5G connectivity on Bell, Telus and Rogers. WhistleOut tested the 5G capabilities in our full review of the sophisticated Motorola edge+ and managed downloads 2-3x faster than simultaneous tests on 4G LTE.


Google 5G Smartphones


The newest flagship Pixel 5 smartphone from Google offers premium features — including 5G connectivity — on a budget. Priced at $799, it's one of the most impressive smartphones available under $1,000. If you want to save even more, the Pixel 4a with 5G offers nearly the same performance in a budget-friendly format starting at $679 retail.


Apple iPhone 5G Smartphones


Apple has a history of perfecting technology before releasing it. The company announced the new iPhone 12 family of 5G-capable smartphones in late 2020. The cheapest model is the iPhone 12 Mini priced around $1,000. The extra speed of 5G partnered with one of the most powerful mobile devices in Canada will makes this generation of iPhone devices the best ever.


5G Network Technology and Internet in Canada


5G technology offers faster downloads, low latency, smaller hardware and greater connectivity to all sorts of new devices. Many of the ways we'll use 5G haven't even been imagined yet. Read our guide to 5G technology in Canada and get a better idea of what's coming.


Keep an eye on this page and we'll update it regularly with new information about 5G in Canada.


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Article source: https://www.whistleout.ca/CellPhones/Guides/5g-availability

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