mmWave 5G, which is only available in select urban areas of the United States and a few other countries worldwide, will continue to be exclusive to U.S. iPhone 13 models.
Apple’s cellular compatibility page states that only the U.S. iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max versions will support mmWave 5G. Further, the mmWave antenna is only visible on devices featured on Apple’s U.S. website.
Several months ago, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicated that iPhone 13 models sold in Canada, Japan, Australia and several European countries, would support mmWave 5G.
With that in mind, iPhone 13 series smartphones still includes support for the n78 5G band (TD 3500) like the iPhone 12 series, which will likely launch across Canada at some point in the next few years.
The Canadian government’s 3,500MHz 5G spectrum auction took place in late July, with major carriers, including Rogers, Bell, Telus, Vidéotron, Cogeco, Sasktel and more securing licenses. However, it’s unclear when carriers will start using this spectrum. 3,500MHz spectrum will make up part of what’s commonly called ‘Sub-6’ 5G, which isn’t as fast as mmWave but has a greater range. Further, no Canadian carriers offer mmWave 5G yet, so it’s not a huge loss that the iPhone 13 doesn’t support it here.
As such, it’s unlikely that Apple’s iPhone 13 series — just like every 5G smartphone currently available in Canada — will actually feature that significant a leap in data speeds. That should change once 3,500MHz starts rolling out to more locations.
It’s worth noting that Apple’s new iPhone 13 series does support more 5G bands than the iPhone 12 series.
Apple’s iPhone 13 series is set to release on September 24th, starting at $1,399 for the iPhone 13 Pro and $949 for the iPhone 13 mini.
Update 15/09/2021 6:30pm ET: In a recent interview with iPhone in Canada, PCMag lead analyst Sascha Segan explained that ISED hasn’t yet auctioned off mmWave in Canada and that the technology results in devices costing more money.
“The new [iPhone 13 series] support band n77, which includes the 3500MHz frequencies the carriers just spent billions on, as well as the 3800MHz frequencies being auctioned in 2023 — that’s where the real 5G action will be in Canada,” said Segan in an interview with the publication.