Samsung’s S20 series — including the S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra — are the first 5G-enabled phones coming to Canada, but consumers won’t be able to use their 5G capabilities just yet.
The tech giant delivered on its promise on wanting to be the first to bring 5G devices to Canadian consumers. Samsung is essentially launching the phones in Canada so that consumers will have access to a 5G device once the next generation of wireless technology is deployed.
“We’re excited to put Canada’s first 5G device in consumers’ hands, ensuring users are ready to experience all the benefits that 5G networks will bring. The Galaxy S20 5G series enhances everything consumers do on their phone – video, gaming, communication and more,” said Jennifer Safruk, vice-president of sales and product management at Samsung Electronics Canada, in a press release.
It should be noted that the 6.2-inch S20 doesn’t have mmWave 5G. However, the 6.7-inch S20 Plus and S20 Ultra do have mmWave 5G. This means that at launch, only the latter two are going to work with ultra-fast networks.
Toronto-based national carrier, Rogers, recently said that it finished testing Samsung’s first 5G phone after it began rolling out its 5G network in partnership with Ericsson. At the time, the carrier’s CEO Joe Natale didn’t specify what device it had tested. Now, it seems likely that the carrier tested the S20 series.
Rogers’ network currently uses 2.5Ghz spectrum, and will use 600MHz spectrum later this year. 600MHz spectrum is suited to carry wireless data through dense urban buildings, which creates consistent quality coverage. The carrier will also deploy 3.5GHz spectrum and dynamic spectrum sharing, which will allow 4G spectrum be to be used for 5G.
The Canadian government is going to auction 3500MHz spectrum sometime this year, which is the spectrum that is vital for 5G networks.
Due to this, it will be some time before full-on 5G is available for commercial use in Canada, as the full capabilities of the next generation of wireless technology won’t be available until 2021.
Further, Montreal-based national carrier, Bell, announced that Nokia is its “first” 5G partner, and that it wants to work with multiple equipment suppliers, including Huawei. Vancouver-based Telus, the remainder of the Big Three, has yet to select its 5G vendor.
Another factor that could potentially delay 5G in Canada is whether or not Huawei is going to be allowed to participate in the rollout. National security agencies are currently conducting a review to determine whether allowing the Chinese tech company to play a role in 5G would pose a security risk.
For now, 5G-enabled phones in Canada will run on 4G networks until there is a transition to 5G networks.
You can read about MobileSyrup‘s hands-on with the new Samsung phones here.
Update 11/01/20 4:30pm ET: The article was updated to include more information about the S20 lineup and its 5G capabilities.