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The iPhone 5 Launches in Canada: Shorter Lines, System Outages, and More

The iPhone 5 has officially launched in Canada today and around the world in the U.S., the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Here in Canada the iPhone 5 is available from Rogers, Telus, Bell, Fido, Virgin Mobile and Koodo (with SaskTel and MTS soon to come), with prices starting at $179.95 for a 16GB model on a three year term.

From what we’ve observed on Twitter, Apple retail store line ups have been shorter this year since we broke the news unlocked iPhones would not be available on launch day (Apple confirmed it with us). Most lines were either cut in half or by a third after Apple staff relayed the news. Most carrier stores had very few or little line ups at all.

Fairview Pointe-Claire Apple Store (via @confuzedone)

With no unlocked units available, lots of Apple fans still waited in line (and are still waiting) to do their carrier upgrades/renewals.

We heard reports of the Rogers/Fido and Bell/Virgin and Telus systems going down due to the massive demand of iPhone 5 activations, leading to old school pen and paper forms, with some being told to come back later to pick up their iPhones. Meanwhile, customers with reservations at Best Buy and Future Shop were able to get in and out quickly and smoothly.

As for unlocked pre-orders from Apple, many had orders arrive on launch day via UPS as promised according to the ‘estimated delivery map’. As for LTE speeds on the iPhone 5, they have been very fast so far:

Did you get your iPhone 5 yet? Share your experience with us below in the comments.

PS – this is how you wait in line at South Gate Mall in Edmonton: you bring a couple TVs and Nintendo 64 consoles (image via CityTV Edmonton):

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • http://twitter.com/spankdamonky Daniel Abrahamsson

    I’m still waiting for slow ass ups …

  • saynt

    I pre-ordered a white 16gb from futureshop. Got the call last night and got the option to upgrade to a 32. Had an appointment for 8am this morning and was in and out in 15ish minutes. Great experience and a fantastic renewal on fido for my plan. 6gb here i come.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Any word on the availability of nano sims??

  • Tech

    I’m pissed off. When apple decided not to sell unlocked iPhones at retail stores they should of made a statement when the phone was announced. Who reads fine print ? Lol. I have to wait 2-3 weeks for mine to be delivered. I was up early enough to have gotten one delivered today, but ups/apple fucked up per-orders for the 4s last year and I ended up walking into the apple store @ 3pm to buy one. Does apple care about their customers , do they want more control ? Or was this a move to block the scalpers ? I don’t think scalpers are stealing them from the apple stores. Apple is still making Huge sales. What do you guys think ?

  • Anthony ?

    If you bought an unlocked device online your best bet is to call your local Apple Store and ask if you can get one there. Many are giving them to preorder customers at no charge.

    If an Apple Store is not an option (or if it’s going to cost you more than $10 in gas to get to one) then call around to carrier stores or local wireless stores to see if they have stock. The usual charge for one is $10.

  • gerry

    I was able to snag one @ Bell 20 min ago

  • K33N3R

    What Apple cares about is making bucket loads of money. They make more money whenever they activate a phone and they know full well that they can sell out of their carrier phones before they need to sell unlocked phones. That’s a whole lot more money in their pockets (based on the contract kick backs that they get). A few disgruntled customers looking for unlocked phones isn’t really going to make a dent in their sales figures. I’m not trying to defend Apple here by the way. I don’t like it anymore than you do but it’s economics and Apple knows that they hold all their cards.

  • K33N3R

    I kinda feel bad for all the UPS guys and gals today. There are a lot of people waiting behind doors to pounce them LOL. MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!

  • Davinci Jeremie

    I’m still in line 1 hour ago I had 40 people in front of me now I have 26, it’s very very very slow. Been here since 5 in the morning at SquareOne and this is the last time I’m doing this.

  • http://twitter.com/RuhnDMC ruhndmc

    Nano sims can be sold at future shop stores as well in Canada. Walked into one in Victoria and asked nicely…BOOM….Stupidly $10.00 though…oh well….

  • lheylah

    really? i preordered a phone from Fido at Square one. hows the line up there?

  • lheylah

    does fido have the 6gb plan?

  • lheylah

    should i just line up to get my iphone 5?

  • http://www.facebook.com/vazandrew Andrew Vaz

    Pre-orders for Virgin were stopped before I had a chance to reserve. So I went to Futureshop early, thinking there would be a decent line. No such thing. They told me the 16GB models hadn’t arrived so I went with 32GB and for the inconvenience they threw in a free case, $50 gift card. I was very impressed with their customer service.

  • draz

    Rogers Head office (Bloor & Jarvis Toronto) had very little line up! Lots of left overs for walk-ins

  • http://twitter.com/spankdamonky Daniel Abrahamsson

    I will never order directly from apple again . This bs making people wait around all day for a stupid brown truck to come .

  • http://www.facebook.com/Elson.Jake Jake Elson

    Such a pain because they have to activate your iPhone by phone at Rogers, takes about 40 mins per customer because of the system crashing

  • thisisme19

    I was just at the roger store near my work and there was a guy in there that had been waiting 4 hours to activate his phone… no line ups or anything, just trying to get through to rogers! I opted to leave and come back later. Hopefully activations are running more smoothly this afternoon. Life would of been much easier if rogers just let me get my phone and activate it later on tonight or tomorrow… dumb!

  • KL

    Yeah so even with ‘holiday’ delivery listed, it still arrived today. very last minute apple!

  • djepsilon

    Still waiting patiently for UPS… Headed out to the Apple Store now to track down a nano sim. Thank god I don’t have to wait in that line.

  • RaphaelNinjaTurtle

    Relax dude your phone will come.

  • TeeTw0

    Why does Fido always suck so bad? I reserved a 32GB phone for shipment to authorized reseller Yappy Mobile on Broadway in Vancouver. It was shipped on Wednesday and arrived in Vancouver on Thursday (confirmed via UPS tracking).

    Big question is: Where in Vancouver did it arrive? It certainly isn’t at Yappy Mobile – the people in there this morning were clueless and had no idea when the phones will arrive.

    Argh.

  • aRhyno

    i ordered mine online monday, said delivery date was the 28th. got a email today confirming delivery confirmation but no tracking number. called telus, he said i should have my iphone today. just waiting on purolator to see if its true. if i get it today, i will be definitely surprised on the week early delivery.

  • Anthony ?

    If you want it unlocked you will :-)

  • Tech

    I said the same thing last year while waiting for my 4s. Which ended up being delayed , so I walked into a almost empty apple store and purchased my unlocked 64g . I got screwed this year by not ordering online. Thinking I could walk in as before.

  • Anthony ?

    It’s been posted here and elsewhere since at least last Saturday that there will be no unlocked in-store. Not early enough to get a pre-order for delivery today, but at least you knew not to stand in line like some. I spoke to a contact at Apple and basically the answer is that they don’t discuss business strategy, so we’re not going to know “why”, it just is what it is.

    I suspect it’s to keep a lid on scalping. When you get a lot of scalpers paying a lot of people to stand in line and buy as many as they can, it adds up to large numbers of phones that aren’t being sold to Canadian customers. And, given that the Canadian phone only works on LTE networks in Canada and AT&T in the US, it’s probably also a way of avoiding problems later on when some guy in Singapore goes to the Apple Store complaining that his Canadian-scalped phone doesn’t work.

  • Anthony ?

    Was there for the iPhone 4 launch. Line moved slower than molasses and the main reason was the carrier systems crashing. Sounds like it’s the same today.

  • Anthony ?

    Why would you expect to get it sooner? Today is launch day, therefore today is the earliest you should expect it. Be happy you got it today.

  • Anthony ?

    Sounds like my 4S experience last year, except that mine didn’t ship until after launch day and didn’t get to the reseller until a week after launch. I just ended up going to a Wireless Wave at 8am on launch day and was out with a device 10 min later.

    I’d never pre-order via a carrier again.

  • xxxJDxxx

    I was very surprised at how easy it was to get a nano sim. No lines at the Rogers store either. Although it might have had something to do with the phone in activations

  • mattjames4

    Not happy with rogers and their pre-ordering system. Im located in halifax and i preordered the iphone 5 16gb black i was number 344 which is apparently very low as there were about 12,000 after me and i was told i would receive it on launch day. Well what do you know i walk into the rogers store at 2.15 and they still have 64gb iphones and they only sold out of 16gb blacks 2 hours earlier. Rogers is now telling me my preorder will ship in TEN DAYS! are you kidding me? whats the point in even preordering anymore…

  • madmart944

    Waited 1:30 and decided to go home and told them to call me when their system comes back up at Fido. New activations took 5 minutes but for renewal supposedly they use a different system which was down. Thats sucks. No to wait for them to call me.

  • tmac

    Did you preorder from Telus?

  • Kirk

    I received my shipment at 12pm today. unlocked 32 GB. Left work at 12pm just got home and unpackaged… sweet looking phone. :-)

  • saynt

    I had to call to the retention department to get one. I was off contract and was only month to month with them so the rep easily beat the other competitors 6gb Plans.

  • Spider78

    Went to local Rogers Plus in Toronto, Royal York/Bloor store at 6:00am to my surprise I was first one there..they opened @ 8:00am I was out the door with a activated 32 gb by 8:15…was shocked

  • Alex

    Just went to fido after they all me to say that my phone was there waiting for me. They renewed my contract and everything over the phone. The lady then told me to go to fido store to get my reserved iPhone and when I got there they sent me home empty handed. … Couldn’t they do anything else? That really sucks.

    Please advise.

  • aRhyno

    Ya, pre ordered monday from telus online, bit late. but supposedly its on a purolator truck, he’s running real late. so we will see.

  • kyuusei

    Anyone know when the Apple Stores DO start selling unlocked phones? I need to upgrade, would rather go to a store *before* then… just not today because all the carriers’ system are slow as hell apparently.

  • Bart

    I pre-ordered my iPhone 5 32GB white online via Telus website on 14th afternoon (around 3:30 pm) and it was delivered by Purolator around 2:00 pm today (a few minutes ago). I’m in Montreal.

  • tmac

    Monday the 17th? I ordered mine then to, haven’t seen an email yet. I ordered around 3pm, what about you. I was quoted the 28th as well, but would be so happy if it came today as im using my old bb

  • aRhyno

    1:30PM ET.

  • Anthony ?

    I wouldn’t count on the selling unlocked phones in-store any time soon. There’s nothing to indicate this is just a temporary thing.

  • Anthony ?

    You might want to call them back and tell them you didn’t get your phone so that they don’t think you’ve got it already. What was the problem at the store? They didn’t have your phone there, or they wouldn’t give it to you?

  • kyuusei

    Ok, thanks. I want to avoid getting stuck in an ‘unlocked iPhone’ lineup at Apple is all.

  • kody

    I preordered a white 32gb from bell over the phone friday morning. No one can tell me if it will be delivered today. Has anyone else from bell had their deleivered or know when their will?

  • tmac

    please do update if you receive it, i hope you do today

  • http://twitter.com/rebornofisland René

    UPS just came to my door. Asked her if it was a busy day and she said “not really”. So there you go.

  • Alex

    The guy had my phone in his hand and I told him customer service already did all the renewal in my account etc… But he told me he couldn’t scan the phone in the system or something like that. And man… He was rude. Haha. Even tho everything was pretty much done I couldn’t have it.

    Btw. Thanks for answering me.

  • smurf

    Preordered 2 in the wee hours and they arrived today at 10 am in Edmonton. :) :). Buddy of mine was in for a surprise when he waited in line at Southgate only to find no unlocked phones available. Neither of us had heard reports about that tidbit of info prior to this. They did mention that they would unlock it after a month for $50. Weird. He also reported huge delays due to the confusion.

  • Johnnygoodface

    Telus activation still not available Future Shop in Quebec ;(

  • Smurf

    Now to find a Rogers and a Bell Nano SIM card. Presumably at their retail locations.

  • aRhyno

    NP, nothing as of yet, so either there’s no parcel today, or he’s behind by 2 hours lol

  • CptKirk

    Got lucky and got my unlocked phone from Apple today. But unfortunately no one will sell me a Fido nano SIM card so right now am out of luck.

  • vic

    Got mine as well, delivered @ noon and waiting for me home. I was in Montreal today, walked to Apple Store and they let me in without any wait, picked up nano-sim for nothing. Lots of people waiting in line. Now sitting at the Pierre-Trudeau airport going back to Toronto to play with may new phone.

  • gunfus

    I walked into Futureshop this morning at 8:45. They opened at 8:AM they had a lot of stuff, signs outside saying line up here for preorder and another one for no pre-order, and well they had noone waiting. I had a 0 wait time. We did have a problem registering the phone with bell because the serial number did not register. Weird.. but we just tried another phone and it worked with out a glitch.

  • Kenneth

    I went up the Roger’s store at 10:15am. No line ups. The Rogers Application to upgrade the iPhone5 was very slow and errored out. The store opened at 8:00am and by that time upgrade 3 phones successfully over the phone. I don’t think it is the volume.Rogers application servers are not properly configured to take any volume. This is lack of planning and use of old outdated system by Rogers which caused customers and employee waste valuable time. More efficiency needed from Rogers IT Dept and let’s not blame this on huge volumes.

  • dk

    Been waiting over 4 hours now for Rogers to activate my new sim card. Crazy considering it took me 10 minutes to get the upgrade done at Future Shop

  • Alleycat

    Went to a Rogers stores early this morning.No line ups.Had to wait Rogers phone lines were very busy about twenty minutes.Paper work was already done my phone was on reserved a iphone black 16.I have it now.

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    I was at rogers store at 10AM this and left at 3:30PM with no iPhone 5. Was told the system is down and couldn’t do old school paper work. They had this problem before whenever they launch new iPhone but rogers didn’t do anything to address this problem. I am seriously considering going to bell or telus to switch my business with either one.

  • Ryenstein

    I got my iPhone 5 at the Virgin Mobile kiosk at the Halifax Shopping centre at 930 am. There were 3 employees and only one other customer getting the new iPhone. It took about 20 minutes for the entire process, including moving my cell phone number from Rogers. I walked by the Apple store afterwards and there was a long line up, about 50 people, with lots of customers inside. I smirked as I walked by…

  • eszai

    Finally received my preorder phone at 3:45pm. My wife bought the rogers nano sims this am. We lived in Richmond Hill, ON. She first tried bestbuy, wireless wave and rogers. According to her, this am, all these places were very quite. Absolutely no line up, but no one willing to sell the card to her, as they had no extra. Finally my wife was referred to a nearby Rogers plus, and they are willing to sell her the card

  • xxxJDxxx

    Had a very similar experience as it sounds like a lot of you did with the retail stores this morning. Although I was only looking for a nano sim none of the stores were busy at all (in fact most of them were busier when I was there everyday this week trying to get a nano sim than they were this morning)

  • rpret103

    why didn’t anyone go to best buy that’s my question, seriously just went in and got my phone and everything set up within 20 mins and no line….

  • Matt

    Same with me. I’m hoping they’ll waive my upgrade fee.

  • Agent Bluetooth

    Telus activation is down system wide i was told be 2 CSR’s on the phone. No ETA right now, can even login and do a hardware swap. Common Telus Apple was ready, why not you? :) The + is TELUS was able to deliver the iPhone 5 on launch day to those who ordered last Friday. Great work for that!

  • Stece_J_K

    Can’t get my unlocked iPhone 5 with Fido on LTE?

  • Rawbear

    Went to future shop. Unreserved phone in stock. All was done in 20 minutes.

  • Dynamo

    I feel your pain, I’m in the same boat. Everyone at my office got their iPhones today, but I’m still waiting for mine. I called Rogers and they told me my phone has been delivered, yet my Rogers store plays dumb and tells me that they will call me once they have it.

  • aRhyno

    i didnt get mine today, the plane they were on was delayed lol

    on another note, i know of two places i could of walked into and got one. o well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leslie.luk Leslie Luk

    Transferred my sim online since 2pm, no service since then…way to go rogers…

  • kyuusei

    Went to a relatively new Apple Store and there was maybe 3-4 people in line. I asked the Apple guy why (besides them having no unlocked phones) and he said all the carriers’ systems were down but had just gone back up. Well I waited maybe 10 mins to get in and.. Rogers was still down so we went the pen and paper and ‘on hold for 20 minutes’ route. (there were two other Apple guys w/customers on hold with Rogers too). I’m STILL waiting for my nano SIM to activate, lol.

    PS. Future Shop & Best Buy have cases already. =P

  • SOme_dude

    It’s these f***in dealers, they lie to your face, and are only in it for the commission. Some of the comments that come out of their mouths blow me away. If I talked to my clients like that I’d be out of work!

  • tmac

    Oh man, plane delay sucks lol. I wonder if they deliver on weekends? I thought about walking in and buying it somewhere but I didnt want to pay the equipment exchange fee of $25 they charge in corporate stores or have to pay for the sim…also I want to be the first to touch it…..

  • Cpz extreme

    Walked by the cell phone shops and laughed as I played with my galaxy s3 as a few people were amazed by the size of the screen then I showed them picture in picture they asked what phone is that so I told them they decided to scrap the idea of the I phone 5 and left the line shows you the next best thing is already here

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    Haha you’ve been watching way too many Samsung commercials. There’s nothing like trolling a future shop with your S3 on launch day. Did you also load up the latest benchmarks on AnandTech where the S3 is blown out of the water? ;)

  • http://twitter.com/nightfly4257 Patrick Wong

    My unlock iPhone 5 arrived at my doorsteps via UPS at 2:41PM Friday. Got of work at 5 PM and race to the Midland Rogers Plus Store. I was told in the morning I need to show proof of an iPhone 5 before they sell me a nano sim. When I got their with my new iPhone and stood in line, A girl with a snotty attitude told me ” We only have enough nano sim for the iPhone 5 we have in stock.” She also question why a nano sim was not shipped with the iPhone. Are Rogers employees just plain arrogant and stupid? I had to travel to the Best Buy in Barrie Ontario to buy a nano sim. A 45 minute drive and a five minute phone call to Rogers customer service, which was quite good and fast surprisingly, my iPhone5 was up and running by 11 PM. The service at Rogers Plus Store in Midland Ontario is beyond horrible.

  • chris jones

    I ordered Sunday at 11:40P and supposed to get it Friday. Where do you live?

  • James

    I was able to walk into the downtown Montreal apple store at 7:30pm last night and walked out with my iPhone by 7:50. I was an iPhone user until the iPhone 4 and got pissed off when the 4s didn’t have much in terms of updates, so I bought a galaxy sii and used it for a year. Can I just say that it’s so nice to be back. This hardware with ios6 is so elegant and beautiful compared to android on a Samsung. There are a few things that bother me (lack of google maps), but overall, this was a good move.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    There’s nothing worse than dealing with ignorant and rude employees.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    What were you using before?

  • iMat

    I am in Halifax Nova Scotia and pre-ordered from Telus 11 AM local time last friday and still have not received even a shipping notice email. I have paid for my phone and still don’t have it, yet I go to future shop and they had stock of the iPhone 5 yesterday no lineup. So frustrated I don’t have my phone yet.

  • Beverly

    I pre-ordered on Telus website at 12:30 am, half an hour into the start of pre-orders. I received my phone yesterday the 21st just as promised. Activated it online and loving it except for crazy battery drain!

  • http://twitter.com/arcsvibe Sam A

    I bought my case from the Rogers store lol

  • greg_hannah

    My pre-order through a Bell store in Toronto still hasn’t arrived yet and they don’t know when they will receive more. Not happy.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    Cancel and visit a Future Shop or Best Buy instead.