5G Guide for Canadians: Setting the Record Straight

5G is the next generation of wireless technology for your smartphone. It will be significantly faster than 4G networks and will be capable of handling so much more. 5G breaks the current barriers and exceeds the current limitations of 4G LTE communications.

Table of Contents

What is 5G?

5G is the next generation of wireless technology for your smartphone. It will be significantly faster than 4G networks and will be capable of handling so much more. 5G breaks the current barriers and exceeds the current limitations of 4G LTE communications. 5G is expected to have a huge impact on our mobile technologies with applications for businesses, defense, infrastructure, and most importantly, you the consumer.

How is 5G Better Than Previous ‘Gs’?

5G is optimized for better speed and latency compared to previous data networks. You’ll enjoy faster download times up to 10 times quicker than 4G capabilities and all of your connections will be low latency for greater efficiency. Early test results have shown startling speeds of up to 2 gigabits, which means your episodes will download in as few as 5 seconds. Plus, the 5G network will have a much greater coverage area and will locate devices with more precise accuracy since 5G uses a greater number of frequencies than the 4G network does. Essentially, you’ll see improvements in every area of your mobile communications.

What Are the 5G Frequencies?

Speaking of a wider range of frequencies, let’s take a look at which frequencies 5G will be using. There are three levels you’ll be dealing with: low band, mid band, and high band. The low band frequency has a range of 600-700 MHz and is best suited to covering larger areas reliably, providing wireless access to rural areas that previously went without, or achieving a cell signal inside buildings. The mid band frequency operates between 2.5 and 3.7 GHz. This band frequency range is currently in use by 4G broadcasts, so the upgrade will be incredibly streamlined for the implementation of 5G all over Canada – pretty handy. Finally, the high band frequency range is between 25 and 39 GHZ, which enables incredibly fast speeds and low latency connections, though it won’t be available for a year and a bit at the very minimum.

Who Owns 5G Technology?

No one and no company technically “owns” the 5G network since it wasn’t invented by any one person or company, but Qualcomm has been instrumental in the invention and development of many foundational technologies that support 5G. several different companies own 5G NR patients including Nokia, Samsung, Ericsson, and Huawei. They are responsible for supplying hardware to our Canadian providers including Bell, Rogers, Videotron, and Telus. Huawei is not yet allowed to supply hardware, but a decision will soon be made to determine whether Huawei can become a supplier for non-critical 5G systems or not.

Which Providers Have 5G Plans in Canada?

Rogers, Telus, and Bell are the three main providers of 5G coverage in Canada so far for consumers. Service is not yet available nationwide, but there are dozens of service areas across most provinces so far. Both bell 5G and Rogers 5G have been deployed for research purposes in many universities across the country including UBC in Vancouver, Ryerson University in Toronto, and the University of Calgary. We expect to see much greater coverage across the country by the end of the year, with major expansion by 2022.

Where are the 5G Towers Located in Canada? How Many Are There?

5G towers are found all over the place. Rogers has towers in more than 50 markets across Canada. Both Telus and Bell have towers located in major cities including Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto. Providers such as Freedom Mobile and Videotron are still in the testing phase, though current 5G towers are currently only capable of spotty coverage at best. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive look at where 5G towers are located, Rogers, Bell, and Telus all have 5G coverage maps that can be viewed at any time.

Can I Use 5G on Any Phone?

Currently, no. To access the 5G network, you’ll need a smartphone manufactured by LG, Samsung, OnePlus, or Motorola. You can either sign up for a 2-year contract with Rogers or Bell and receive your 5G phone through them, or purchase a 5G phone directly from the manufacturer. At the time of writing, LG has 5G phones for the Telus and Bell networks while Samsung and Motorola devices can be used with Rogers, Telus, or Bell. Though OnePlus does have 5G-compatible phones, they cannot access the network unless purchased through an official 5G network provider. If you did happen to purchase a 5G phone before 5G became active with your carrier, you most likely need to download specific software for your device before it will achieve connectivity with the network. For the iOS fans out there, you can expect the iPhone 12 to have 5G compatibility by 2021.

Is it Worth Buying a 5G Phone Now?

In our opinion, not for 99.9% of consumers. If you buy a 5G-compatible device today, you’ll have to wait at least a year before you have coast-to-coast coverage that makes the smartphone worthwhile. A 5G phone costs upwards of $1000 at the very least, so it isn’t advisable unless you’re looking to take advantage of the 8K resolution video streaming, OLED screen, or Qualcomm CPU performance not available on 4G phones. Otherwise, exercise a little bit of patience before taking the 5G plunge.

What Are the Dangers of 5G Technology? Can it Really Make You Sick?

If you look at the scientific consensus rather than the social media hype, there are no dangers posed to the Canadian public by 5G technology or towers. The 5G service currently available in Canada uses the same frequencies as our 4G LTE network. Plus, the frequencies used by 5G technology are completely non-ionizing, meaning it is impossible for them to cause cancer or other illness. The broadcast power levels are strictly regulated by the governing body ISED, or Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada. They ensure that the power levels are not only marginally but significantly lower than “potentially harmful” thresholds. Plus, the frequencies used by 5G have been tested rigorously over decades and are widely acknowledged as safe. In other words, you have nothing to worry about. Despite the widespread mania on social media with claims that Coid-19 is caused by 5G technology, they are completely and undoubtedly unrelated to one another. The conspiracy theory has absolutely no basis in fact or scientific evidence; there is not a lick of proof anywhere that 5G causes a weakening of the immune system or goes so far as to cause a global pandemic.

Are There 5G Transmitters Everywhere? 

Not even close. Though some microcell towers may be affixed to urban lampposts to expand the coverage of the 5G high band frequency, they will not be widely implemented in Canada until 2021 or 2022. These microcell towers are necessary since the high band frequency has a limited range of a few hundred metres and needs the boost from these cell base stations to deliver coverage to all consumers.

Final Thoughts

Well, now you’re a 5G expert too. We hope we’ve cleared up some questions you had about the up-and-coming 5G network as well as laid some inaccurate myths and conspiracy theories to rest. While you may not need to upgrade to 5G immediately, you’ll soon be able to enjoy faster coverage anywhere in Canada.
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