Canada's first 5G wireless network arrived in 2020, but a self-proclaimed "phone repair guy" claims in a video that there are no such mobile networks in the country -- and that there are no smartphones sold with the technology. This is false; independent third-party tests show Canadian carriers and phones deliver wireless speeds similar to those in other major countries.

"There's no single phone in Canada that supports 5G," says the speaker in a September 20, 2023 TikTok video that also circulated on Facebook. "There's not a single carrier in Canada that supports 5G."

Text over the video says: "THE 5G SCAM ... $200 extra charging for 5G and it's not even there."

The speaker is not visible but says: "I fix phones every day." The clip shows two disassembled smartphones with empty slots where 5G chips supposedly belong. The same footage also spread on X, YouTube, BitChute, Rumble and Instagram.



Deployment of 5G -- the faster, fifth-generation mobile broadband system that makes it easier to browse, stream and transfer data -- began in 2018 in the United States and shortly after in Europe.

In Canada, Rogers Communications rolled out 5G to major cities in 2020, followed by other carriers, contrary to claims on social media.

Koen Johnson of Winnipeg told AFP the clip currently circulating stems from a segment he made for YouTube in June 2021 (archived here). AFP was able to identify Johnson by searching for the name of the repair shop mentioned in the video.

Johnson said he "absolutely" stands by his contention that 5G is not available in Canada more than two years after he made the video, despite the rollout by carriers.

"It's 5G speeds but not 5G frequency," he said in a phone interview October 5. "It's still 4G being sped up. They renamed it 5G because it's better for marketing."

Johnson said he has disassembled and tested Samsung smartphones and believes those sold in Canada lack chips needed for true 5G. He said he has not done the same for iPhones.

Independent evaluations

However, several third-party organizations have verified that Canada has a robust 5G network, although availability and speeds vary.

A February 2023 report from the technology consultancy Opensignal found average download speeds of 158.7 Mbps for Bell, suitable for video streaming, games and other uses (archived here).



A separate Opensignal report in June 2023 put Canada in the middle of the pack in terms of upload and download speeds, while noting 5G connections were available only about 10 percent of the time -- a rate similar to the United Kingdom but lower than the United States (archived here).

Another firm, Ookla, found median mobile download speeds of 75.47 Mbps in August 2023, well ahead of the global 2018 average of 22.82 Mbps (archived here). The test also found download speeds of more than 100 Mbps for Apple and Samsung smartphones in 2023.

Apple says on its website that all handsets starting with the iPhone 12 support 5G if they are connected to a carrier using the technology. Samsung and Google Pixel devices can also connect to 5G in Canada, according to the manufacturers.

Tests conducted by PC Magazine in mid-2022 found robust 5G speeds in Toronto for all carriers following network upgrades.

Because of its ability to quickly deliver data, 5G is expected to create considerable economic benefits in Canada.

"As these deployments scale, and Canada gets closer to national 5G coverage, the estimated economic impact of 5G deployment in Canada will reach $40 billion of annual GDP uplift by 2026, with 250,000 permanent jobs added to the economy in the same timeframe," says an Accenture report prepared in March 2023 for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.

In 2022, Canada ranked among the most expensive countries for wireless service.

AFP has fact-checked other claims about 5G wireless technology here.