When I found out that T-Mobile has “unlocked” 5G where I live, I was excited to try it. I have access to all three major carriers (F for Sprint in the comments) as well as several MVNOs, but T-Mobile works best here, so my personal line is on Magenta Giants. My work phone is on Google Fi, and that means I had 5G there as well. I was all wow! And itching to try it.
I did it’s useless.
Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central
I knew it sucked and I know why, so I wasn’t really disappointed. For starters, the T-Mobile coverage map has a very different definition of “excellent coverage” made by you or me, so the signal is not the best in my small town. The 5G T-Mobile likes to remind us that it is coast-to-coast across America known as the Low Band 5G, which is not built faster than LTE; It is about more bandwidth to carry more data. This means that it is about 20Mbps Slower Compared to my LTE connection.
Everything about 5G is good and everything is subject to change at any time.
But this is about to change soon as T-Mobile has started using all the mid-band 5G spectrum derived from the Sprint merger, and will be increasingly good. Only I can’t have a phone that can use it because T-Mobile can ban unlocked phones made before a certain date (legitimately) so that the mid-band 5G network runs well Could.
And once the government figures out a way to auction off some more spectrum, maybe after me the millimeter-wave (which Verizon prefers to call UWB) 5G via T-Mobile – you guessed it – Buy a new phone
Source: Android Central
But 4G was a disappointment, too. You had fake 4G from T-Mobile and AT&T, which labeled a nice and fast HSPA network with 4G tags, you also had LTE 4G faster than all three carriers, and to make sure that the phone. The one you bought works correctly, you pretty much had to buy it at a carrier store. 5G can’t be any worse, right? wrong.
5G status today:
- The slow but efficient low band 5G is being rolled out with all three carriers and decent coverage.
- The mid-band 5G is being launched as fast, but the coverage pulse compared to the low-band.
- The Millimeter-Wave 5G is available in a range in the smallest of spaces (say namaste to both Kalamazoo and Los Angeles), which literally means just a block or two.
- T-Mobile’s low-band has a huge head start and almost All Middle band is currently available. This is a flip-flop of the LTE rollout, where Verizon had a different lead. If you like network naughty-gritty, there is a very deep dive into this in light reading.
All of these also use LTE most of the time, as the carrier LTE network is old enough to be more robust in more locations. When your status bar says 5G, you are probably using LTE. That’s not a bad thing, either, because you don’t really benefit from 5G when you make your phone do almost anything. at least not yet. This is only for 5G in North America; The picture gets worse when you factor in the rest of the world, but mostly for the same reasons.
5G specifications are still evolving.
But today 5G status means nothing. I am not a bit surprised if the 5G phone you buy today does not take advantage of any improvements made in 2021. Unlike LTE at the time of launch, the 5G specifications are not just over.
One thing about the rollout of LTE that will be very familiar with 5G is how carriers will try to control access and force them to buy equipment with them. It would be worse except this time, and it would last a very long time.
From today onwards you will need a new phone to take advantage of the changes.
The ideal 5G network of the future would be a mix of low-band SA 5G for most areas of the US and Canada, mid-band SA 5G for suburbs and population centers, and millimeter-wave SA 5G for super-packed spots in the downtown metro areas. It is simply not possible to do this any other way in countries like the US and Canada, where most of these countries are rural and cannot support a small site cell tower for every 100 yards of millimeter-wave.
Source: Android Central
Your 5G phone probably uses LTE most of the time.
If you stand close to a millimeter-wave cell site and more bandwidth (and thus less network congestion) then faster speeds are good for two reasons, if you are using low-band 5G.
NSA 5G Specifications Will Over the next two years, perhaps several times. This happens when something new and different happens. Your career is definitely working on its NSA plans right now. The first real NSA 5G networks are going to make workarounds and updates a patchwork quilt, unless they can be called “finished”. This is a mess where phones are going to be locked to use only one network, not just by the carrier, because it just can’t work on another “type” of 5G network.
Source: Andrew Martnick / Android Central
None of this is meant to discourage you. Conversely, I am excited to develop the 5G technology and understand that there is going to be a lot of growing pain. But I also know that carriers are going to use those increasing pains to their advantage, and you should know a little bit about how 5G Actually Works and is in the state today.
Outside of the “Verizon tax” for unbranded and unbranded phones capable of millimeter-wave 5Gs like the Pixel 5, these technologies don’t hurt or change, and maybe something you need to use outside of 5G before it does. Everything is change. I can only suggest that we all try to learn as much as we can before we whip out plastic and buy phones or sign up for 5G service.
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