You have questions about 5G. We have answers. Our hub page for everything 5G. Learn the basics, learn what matters and what doesn't, we answer your questions about safety, and all of the latest 5G news in one place.
Intro to 5G Series:
If you follow tech at all, you've probably been hearing about 5G for a while. If you've managed to avoid the 5G hype so far, brace yourself; the 5G hype machine is just warming up. So what is 5G? Should you care? How does it work?
5G is a new radio technology, so naturally those most concerned about environmental health have been asking if it's safe. There's a lot of science on the subject, and also a lot of pseudo-science. We try to cut through the bull to explain the safety issues with radio waves in general, cell phones in particular, and what makes 5G different.
For the phone industry, 5G is essential. And since they're spending billions on it, they want to justify that expense by getting you, the consumer, excited about it, too. But how will it actually impact you? Do you need a 5G phone? Should you care about 5G in 2019 or 2020?
Important Glossary Terms:
Recent 5G News:
Google is expanding the list of phones supported by its Stadia game-streaming service on February 20th. Initially supported only on its own Pixel phones, Stadia will support Samsung flagship Galaxy S and Note series phones (S8 and newer), as well as gaming phones from Razer and Asus (ROG Phone and ROG Phone II). For a controller, gamers can either connect a Stadia controller via USB, or third-party controllers via Bluetooth. Stadia competes with Microsoft's xCloud and Nvidia's GeForce Now. Like those other game-streaming services, Stadia runs full console-quality games on powerful servers in the cloud, streaming video of the rendered graphics to the user's device. Such services benefit from the higher data rates and lower latency of 5G networks. Forthcoming 5G SA networks will further reduce latency and improve data rates.
Qualcomm today announced its third-generation 5G modem, the Snapdragon X60. The chip supports new types of 5G carrier aggregation compared to the X55 it replaces, including across TDD and FDD bands, and across mmWave and sub-6 bands. These new aggregation options will enable more carriers to offer faster 5G data speeds, including doubling potential sub-6 peak speeds. The chip also supports native voice calls over 5G (VoNR). Support for VoNR and the new aggregation options will help carriers transition from 5G NSA (non-stand-alone) to more advanced 5G SA (stand-alone) networks. The X60 is made using a cutting-edge 5nm manufacturing process, producing a smaller, more power-efficient modem chip. Alongside the X60, Qualcomm is also introducing a new mmWave antenna module (QTM535) that's narrower than the company's existing antenna modules, enabling slimmer phones that support mmWave 5G.
Verizon will offer a special version of the smaller Samsung Galaxy S20 5G that supports both mmWave and sub-6 GHz flavors of 5G in the second quarter. The larger S20+ and S20 Ultra support both types of 5G, and Verizon will sell those models starting March 6th. But the standard S20 for the US only supports sub-6 5G, which Verizon won't launch until later this year. Verizon's special version will support its current (mmWave) 5G network as well its upcoming sub-6 5G network. Although the special version will launch later and include extra components to support mmWave, it will be the same price as the standard version: $1,000.
Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S phones for 2020 are somewhat predictable in appearance and features, and they've leaked like crazy, but there are a few surprises. There's no smaller, more affordable model like last year's S10e, nor is there a separate 5G model. They're all large and expensive, and they all have 5G. A new top-end option has been introduced beyond the "plus" model: the S20 Ultra. The Ultra seems to be stepping on the toes of Samsung's Note series, offering a huge screen and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feature list for people willing to pay a premium. All three models have an all-new camera system with some new tricks. How well do the few features work? How do the phones feel in person? We have your hands-on report right here.
Samsung today announced its new flagship phones for 2020: the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra. In the US, all three models support 5G and are powered by Qualcomm's newest top-end Snapdragon 865 chipset paired with 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. The base model S20 supports sub-6 GHz 5G; the S20+, S20 Ultra, (and a special version of the S20 for Verizon) are the first phones in the US to support both sub-6 and mmWave flavors of 5G in one phone. The S20 series also supports DSS and SA 5G networks, technologies US carriers are moving quickly to deploy. Compared to last year's S10 and S10+, the S20 and S20+ are a bit taller, allowing larger batteries and slightly larger QHD+ displays. The new Ultra model is larger still, sporting Samsung's largest phone display yet at 6.9 inches diagonal. The cheapest S20 model costs $1,000, while the S20 Ultra starts at $1,400. All three have an all-new triple-camera system on the back (with standard, wide, and telephoto cameras), 120 Hz display refresh, and 8K video capture. The phones can capture 33-megapixel stills while recording 8K video and can upload 8K video to YouTube. The camera app also has improved night and Super Steady modes, as well as a new Night Hyperlapse mode, and a new "Single Take" mode that captures a variety of still and video clips at once and uses AI to suggest several best output options. The design of the S20 series is roughly similar to the S10 series, and carries forward most of the same features, such as a curved-edge display, curved glass on both sides, in-display fingerprint reader, Wireless Power Share, wireless and wired fast charging (25W fast charger included), Samsung Pay, and a memory card slot. The new S20 phones do not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, but wired (USB-C) earbuds are included. A "Space Zoom" feature offers 10x digital zoom using new AI algorithms. Google Duo video calling has been integrated into Samsung's phone app, and — exclusive to 5G Samsung Galaxy phones — supports full-HD resolution.
- Galaxy S20: 6.2-inch display, 4,000 mAh battery, 128 GB of storage, 12 megapixel main camera (f/1.8, 79º), 12 megapixel wide camera (f/2.2, 120º), 64 megapixel telephoto and 8K video camera (f/2.0, 76º, 3x zoom via crop). 10 megapixel selfie camera. Available in Cosmic Gray, Cloud Blue, and Cloud Pink for $1,000. The Verizon version will also support mmWave 5G, but doesn't ship until Q2.
- Galaxy S20+: 6.7-inch display, 4,500 mAh battery, 128 or 512 GB of storage. The same cameras as the S20, plus a ToF depth camera. Both sub-6 and mmWave 5G. Available in Cosmic Gray, Cloud Blue, and Cosmic Black starting at $1,200.
- Galaxy S20 Ultra: 6.9-inch display, 5,000 mAh battery, 128 or 512 GB of storage, and the option for up to 16 GB of RAM. The same wide-angle camera as the other models, but upgraded main and tele cameras: The main camera sports 108 megapixels (f/1.8, 79º), using 9-to-1 pixel binning to produce high-quality 12 megapixel images by default. It also handles 8K video. The unique telephoto camera (48 megapixel, 24º, f/3.5) accomplishes a 10x optical zoom using a "folded" design with a prism to arrange most of the necessary lenses sideways. Supports 45W fast charging. Available in Cosmic Gray and Cosmic Black starting at $1,400.
AT&T is launching sub-6 GHz 5G service for consumers in 13 new markets this week. In California, the new markets are Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, and Modesto. In Massachusetts, Boston and Bedford are getting 5G this week. The remaining markets are Liberty, GA; Wichita, KS; Frederick, MD; St. Louis, MO; Atlantic City, NJ; and Dayton, OH. With these new launches, AT&T's 5G network for consumers will cover 50 million people across 32 markets. AT&T says it remains on track to offer the service nationwide by the middle of 2020. Separately, AT&T's "5G+" service for businesses is now available in parts of 35 cities across the US. AT&T's "5G+" service uses new mmWave frequencies, which offer high speeds but limited coverage. AT&T's "5G" service for consumers uses more traditional cellular frequencies below 6 GHz (specifically, band 5 at 850 MHz), offering better coverage than mmWave, and speeds that are faster than 4G but not as fast as mmWave 5G. The only phone currently offered by AT&T that supports its consumer 5G network is the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G.
Two interesting new approvals for unannounced Samsung phones appeared on the FCC web site this week. The limited info available in the FCC filings indicate that they are flagship-level phones, which will presumably be announced at next month's Unpacked event in San Francisco. One model appears to be a new foldable, while the other is a 5G model in the flagship Galaxy S series that will replace the current S10 series. The SM-F700 is the foldable, as indicated by the model number as well as text in the approval that says the phone is "capable of operating in folded closed and unfolded open configurations". (The Galaxy Fold had model number SM-F900.) The only variant approved by the FCC so far does not appear to be US-specific, although it does support 4G LTE in bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 25, 26, 29, 30, 41, and 66. It does not include any 5G in any US frequency bands. Rumors suggest this model may be called the "Galaxy Z Flip". The other model just approved is the SM-G981U. The model number suggests that this is a US-specific variant of a new Galaxy S-series flagship phone, but not a top-end "plus" model. (The Galaxy S10+ had model number SM-G975.) It supports 5G, but only in sub-6 GHz bands, not mmWave (which is faster but has limited coverage). It supports 5G NR in bands 2, 5, 41, 66, and 71; and 4G LTE in bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 25, 26, 29, 30, 38, 41, 46, 48, 66, and 71. It also includes CDMA for Sprint's network. That translates to excellent support for all 4G and sub-6 GHz 5G networks launched or announced in the US to date. The SM-G981 also supports NFC, MST (Samsung Pay), and two-way wireless charging, according to the FCC docs. Rumors suggest this model may be called the "Galaxy S20 5G".
Kyocera is at CES this year showing off mock-ups of 5G devices under development, including their next rugged smartphone for the US, which will have 5G. Kyocera's Product Planning Manager Curtis Wick confirmed to Phone Scoop that the company is still actively developing rugged smartphones for the US market, similar to the DuraForce Pro 2 that is currently offered by AT&T and Verizon. The mock-up shown at CES is not a functional prototype, nor the final design. But it shows the direction the company is going with its designs.
Coolpad's first 5G phone will be offered as an unlocked phone in the US with wide support for most US 5G networks. It will sell for under $400, making it the most affordable 5G phone to date in the US. It will be fully compatible with the current and planned sub-6 GHz 5G networks of AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, supporting 5G NR in frequency bands 2, 5, 12, 25, 41, 66, and 71. That is, by far, the largest number of US 5G bands supported in a single phone announced to date. (It won't support the faster mmWave 5G networks offered by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, although those networks offer limited coverage in only the densest area of major cities.) This new phone will feature a 6.53-inch Full-HD+ display with HDR10 and a small notch, Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage, 4,000 mAh battery, and 18W fast charging. For cameras, it will have a 48 megapixel main, 8 megapixel wide, and a 16 megapixel front camera. It will also come with Android 10, 3.5mm headphone jack, THX-certified stereo speakers, and a memory card slot. A unique color gradient on the back fades from denim to sand. It will be available in the second quarter of 2020. The exact model name and additional details will be announced later.
After "soft-launching" with the Plex phone last year, TCL is now previewing its first widely-available lineup of own-brand phones: the 10 series, all of which offer premium features for under $500. TCL officially announced very few details of the three phones, but shared more with Phone Scoop in a hands-on session. All three models offer four rear cameras. The TCL 10 5G offers sub-6 GHz 5G powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip and an extra-large battery. It also has a large display with a "hole punch" for the selfie camera in the top-left corner. A fingerprint reader is located on the back. The 10 Pro has a premium design with a curved-edge AMOLED display, in-display fingerprint reader, matte glass back with reflective gradient effect, and metal frame. It will be available in black and green. The 10L (L for Lite) is similar in design to the 10 5G, but thinner and lighter. The 10L and 10 Pro will be available in the US unlocked for under $500 in the second quarter. TCL did not announce launch details for the 10 5G, but said it would also be priced starting under $500. Further details on the 10 series will be announced at the MWC trade show in late February. Read on for more details and our hands-on impressions.
Qualcomm and ZTE today announced that they have successfully tested a Voice over New Radio (VoNR) call. VoNR is essential for the rollout of 5G SA (stand-alone) networks. All current 5G networks are NSA (non-stand-alone), meaning they only work as an add-on to existing 4G networks. On a 5G NSA network, all voice calls happen over the 4G network. With VoNR, 5G SA networks will be able to handle voice calls and operate independently of 4G networks. 5G SA networks will also be more efficient and unlock additional benefits of 5G such as lower latency. The milestone announced today was achieved using ZTE's 5G NR base station and a 5G smartphone form factor test device from Qualcomm.
Verizon flipped the switch on 5G service in three new cities today: Cleveland, Columbus, and Hampton Roads, VA. This brings to 31 the number of cities where Verizon has launched its mmWave 5G service. Since early 2019, Verizon has promised to launch 5G in at least 30 cities by the end of the year. In Columbus, the launch includes the city's airport, Verizon's first airport deployment of 5G. In Cleveland, Verizon is launching 5G at both Progressive Field and FirstEnergy Stadium, the 15th NFL stadium to see Verizon 5G. Verizon launched 5G in Los Angeles and Miami earlier this month. Verizon's current 5G service uses mmWave frequency bands, which offer fast speeds but limited coverage. Verizon's lineup of phones with integrated 5G consists of the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.
Verizon today launched 5G in six new cities: Charlotte, Greensboro, Grand Rapids, Miami, Salt Lake City, and Spokane. Earlier this week, Verizon launched 5G in LA, Des Moines, Hoboken, and Memphis. This brings the company's 5G city count to 28. As with all of Verizon's 5G deployments to date, the new service uses high-frequency mmWave bands, which offer high speeds but limited coverage. In each city, 5G service is only available in the highest-density parts of town. For example, in Miami, 5G is available in "parts of Downtown Miami along Biscayne Blvd and near landmarks, such as: The Frost Museum, American Airlines Arena, Hard Rock Stadium, the surrounding area of Miami Gardens, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport." Verizon remains on track to offer 5G in at least 30 cities by the end of 2019.
Verizon has launched mmWave 5G in Los Angeles, its 19th city to get the service. Coverage includes "parts of" Downtown, Chinatown, Del Rey, and Venice. Verizon recently started publishing 5G coverage maps; the 5G map for LA will be published on Dec. 20th. Like other mmWave deployments, data speeds are quick, but coverage is limited to select high-density areas of each city. Verizon has indicated it will also offer 5G in lower frequency bands for greater 5G coverage, but has yet to announce specific plans on that front. Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile have already launched 5G with broader coverage using lower frequency bands. Verizon's mmWave 5G service is already available in New York City, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Dallas, Indianapolis, Denver, Washington DC, Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Omaha, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Boise, Sioux Falls, Providence, and Panama City.
AT&T has finally launched 5G service for consumers as of today, using far-reaching low-band radio frequencies (band 5 / 850 MHz). As the company promised last month, the launch cities include Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, RI, Rochester, NY, and San Diego. However, AT&T managed to accelerate its schedule and launch five additional cities today: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, CA, Milwaukee, and Birmingham, AL. The company has released 5G coverage maps for all consumer launch cities. The only phone AT&T currently offers that supports the service is the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, which runs $1,300. This particular 5G service is distinct from the company's "5G+" service, which uses higher mmWave frequencies and is only available to business customers. mmWave frequencies offer higher data speeds but much more limited coverage. AT&T's phone lineup does not yet include any phones that can access 5G on both low-band and mmWave frequencies. Neither 5G service should be confused with "5Ge", which is merely AT&T's branding for the fastest type of 4G LTE. AT&T has also confirmed that its next 5G launch cities will include Boston, Bridgeport, CT, Buffalo, NY, Las Vegas, Louisville, KY, and New York City. The company promises "nationwide" 5G coverage by the middle of 2020.
The FCC this week announced that it plans to make up to $9 billion available to carriers to deploy 5G in rural areas where building new coverage wouldn't otherwise make economic sense. The money will be be allotted from the Universal Service Fund, which aims to bring communication services to everyone, a key function of the FCC. The new fund will utilize a reverse auction, and at least $1 billion is earmarked for deployments that support precision agriculture. Other details have yet to be finalized. The new fund replaces a similar initiative for rural 4G deployments, called Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II). The FCC was in the middle of carrying out MF-II but abruptly canceled the program when its own tests found that carriers had overstated their own existing coverage. Accurate maps of existing coverage are critical to programs like MF-II — and the new 5G fund — that aim to fill in major coverage gaps.
Qualcomm today revealed the full details of its first Snapdragon chip with an integrated 5G modem, the Snapdragon 765. As its model number suggests, it offers better performance than the company's 6-series chips that have previously been common to higher-end (but not "flagship") phones in the US. In the Snapdragon lineup, the 765 sits just below the new flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset, also announced today. Unlike the 865, the 765 combines all of the processing cores together with the 5G modem on a single chip. This offers a smaller, more power-efficient, and more affordable solution compared to the 865, while still offering high-end performance. Qualcomm expects the 765 to help accelerate the adoption of 5G beyond expensive flagship devices. The Snapdragon 765 uses the latest 7nm manufacturing process — the same as the 865 — for better power efficiency. The 765's integrated X52 5G modem supports download speeds up to 3.7 Gbps, (compared to 7.5 Gbps for the X55 in the Snapdragon 865,) but otherwise supports everything the company's top-end 5G modems do, including both mmWave and sub-6 GHz frequency bands, SA and NSA modes, TDD and FDD, Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), global 5G roaming, and support for multi-SIM. The chip includes a new fast charging technology designed to extend the number of charges before a phone's battery loses significant capacity. The 765 will also be available in a 765G variant with 20% better graphics performance, for gaming phones. The first phones powered by the Snapdragon 765 are expected to ship in the first quarter of 2020. Read on for additional details.
Qualcomm plans to introduce a 6-series Snapdragon chip with integrated 5G in the second half of 2020. The comment was made today by Qualcomm SVP and General Manager for Mobile Alex Katouzian during a Q&A session at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii.
Motorola President Sergio Buniac took the stage at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Summit today to announce that Motorola will deliver a phone in early 2020 powered by the Snapdragon 765 chip, as well as one powered by "Qualcomm's flagship platform", presumably the Snapdragon 865 chipset. Buniac also announced that one of the phones will support data speed in excess of 5 Gbps. Qualcomm revealed in a presentation today that the 765 will support data speeds up to 3.7 Gbps, so this seems to refer to the 865.
Verizon, Qualcomm, and Ericsson today performed a live demo of 5G operating in a sub-6 GHz frequency band using DSS (dynamic spectrum sharing) technology, enabling the use of band 5 (850 MHz) for both 4G LTE and 5G NR technologies simultaneously. To date, Verizon has launched 5G only in higher-frequency mmWave bands that offer high speeds but limited coverage. 5G in band 5 would offer the same coverage as 4G in band 5. Verizon has mentioned plans to launch 5G in sub-6 GHz bands, but released few details and made few promises. Today's demo implies potential plans to deploy 5G in band 5. AT&T has already announced that it will also use band 5 for its sub-6 GHz 5G deployment. Today's demo took place at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii.
Qualcomm today revealed that its next two chipsets for high-end 5G phones will be called the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 765. The 765 — and a 765G variant for gaming phones — offers "integrated 5G connectivity, advanced AI processing, and select Snapdragon Elite Gaming experiences." The 865 will require a separate X55 modem chip, but Qualcomm describes it as "the world’s most advanced 5G platform ... for the next generation of flagship devices". The 865 will support cameras up to 200 megapixels, and its ISP (image signal processor) can process up to 2 gigapixels per second. Its AI engine is now twice as powerful, benchmarking at 15 TOPS. The 765 will support 4K HDR video capture and all major 5G technologies, such as DSS, SA networks, and all frequency bands. The 765 will support 5G data speeds up to 3.7 Gbps, while the 865 will support 5G data in excess of 5 Gbps. The company is saving further details for a presentation tomorrow at its Snapdragon Mobile Summit event.
T-Mobile will launch the first 5G service for US prepaid customers on its Metro brand this Friday, Dec. 6th, the same day the company's nationwide 5G service becomes available to T-Mobile customers. T-Mobile "launched" its nationwide 5G network today, but compatible 5G phones won't be available with either T-Mobile or Metro until Dec. 6th. Metro will offer the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G. T-Mobile will offer that phone as well as the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren. T-Mobile's new "nationwide" 5G network covers 5,000 cities and towns across the country, 200 million people, and more than 1 million square miles. It uses low frequency bands that have the same coverage as 4G service, unlike mmWave 5G that can only cover small areas.
MediaTek has revealed that its first SoC with integrated 5G modem and high-end processor will be called the Dimensity 1000. The company revealed the first set of details on the chip in May. Now that it has a name, MediaTek has revealed additional details of the SoC. It's fabricated using the latest 7nm process and is designed for "premium and flagship" phones. The 5G modem component supports SA (stand-alone) and NSA (non-stand-alone) 5G networks, as well as DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) that allows 4G and 5G to efficiently share the same frequency band. It also supports 5G carrier aggregation, which enables downlink speeds up to 4.7 Gbps and seamless handovers as users move around. It also supports dual 5G SIMs, which MediaTek claims is a first. The processor part of the chip includes a five-core image signal processor (ISP) to power cameras up to 80 megapixel at 24fps. Its AI processor assists with camera functions, offering features like multi-frame video HDR, which MediaTek claims is another first. The chip also supports Full HD+ displays with refresh rates up to 120Hz, and 2K+ up to 90Hz. The Dimensity 1000 only supports 5G in sub-6 GHz frequency bands, not mmWave. By the end of this year, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will all offer sub-6 GHz 5G networks with broad coverage. The first devices powered by the Dimensity 1000 will ship in the US by the end of this year, which is earlier than previously announced. The new Dimensity brand will include a whole line of chips with integrated 5G.
AT&T is launching 5G for consumers in the coming weeks, and has detailed its launch plans for both sub-6 GHz (low-band) and mmWave launches in the coming year. The company promises "nationwide" 5G in the first half of 2020. AT&T is branding low-band 5G (which offers coverage similar to 4G) as "5G", and this is the service it is launching for consumers. Its mmWave service (with faster speeds but more limited coverage) will be branded "5G+", and remains limited to business customers. Neither designation should be confused with "5Ge", AT&T's misleading designation for 4G. AT&T is launching its low-band 5G in band 5 (850 MHz), which is one of the lower-frequency bands in AT&T's spectrum portfolio, offering the good long-range and in-building coverage. The launch cities for low-band 5G will be Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, RI, Rochester, NY, and San Diego. Those cities will be followed by Boston, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, New York City, San Francisco, Birmingham, AL, Bridgeport, CT, Buffalo, NY, Louisville, KY, and San Jose, CA. AT&T has published coverage maps for all of the listed launch cities. AT&T's first phone to support low-band 5G will be the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, which will only support low-band 5G and not mmWave "5G+". It will be available for pre-order on Nov. 25th. 5G service is included in AT&T's Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite plans. AT&T's mmWave "5G+" service for business customers is currently offered in parts of 21 cities, expanding to 30 in "early 2020".
Verizon has added detailed maps of its mmWave 5G coverage to its web site. The maps show where 5G is available on a block-by-block basis in the cities where Verizon has launched the service. Verizon started offering 5G in April, but has not offered any coverage maps for the service until now. Because Verizon's 5G network so far uses only mmWave frequency bands, coverage is limited to small areas near each base station, and can vary wildly from city block to city block. T-Mobile was running an ad campaign attacking Verizon's unwillingness to share 5G coverage maps.
FCC Chair Ajit Pai this week announced a decision on how to auction new radio spectrum for 5G that will be reclaimed from satellite operators. The FCC will conduct a public auction of spectrum licenses, as it has done with most bands used for mobile services to date. A group of satellite operators that currently have rights to the band had been lobbying for permission to conduct their own private auction instead. The spectrum in question is called the C Band, and it's near 4 GHz, a higher frequency than most bands used for mobile networks today, but much lower than the mmWave bands that some carriers have deployed for 5G in the US. The part of the C Band that is planned to be auctioned for 5G in the US is 280 MHz wide, spanning 3.7 GHz – 4.2 GHz.
Verizon has launched 5G service in three new cities, bringing the number of cities with Verizon 5G to 18. The service is uses mmWave frequencies, which generally offer high speeds but limited coverage. It's available in "parts of" Boston, Houston, and Sioux Falls. In Boston, initial 5G coverage is concentrated in Fenway, along Brookline Avenue near Beth Israel Hospital, and several university campuses. In Houston, initial 5G coverage is concentrated in East Downtown, Uptown, Greenway Plaza, Museum District, Rice Village, and around select major stadiums and malls. In Sioux Falls, initial 5G coverage is concentrated around Levitt at the Falls, Orpheum Theatre, Washington Pavilion, State Theatre, and the US Federal Courthouse. Verizon has already launched 5G in Dallas, Omaha, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Providence, St. Paul, Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis, Washington DC, Phoenix, Boise, Panama City, and New York City. Verizon plans to bring its 5G city count to 30 by the end of the year, with planned launches in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Des Moines, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and more.
T-Mobile today announced plans to offer three new programs offering 5G service for free to certain groups, or cheaply for everyone else. The company is promising to launch the programs when and if it is allowed to merge with Sprint. Although the federal government has approved the merger, over a dozen state attorneys general are suing to stop the merger on antitrust grounds, claiming the move would lead to higher prices for consumers. The new programs are:
- Connecting Heroes Initiative: Free unlimited wireless service — including 5G data, talk, and text — for all first responders in the country. This would include every public and non-profit state and local police, fire and EMS first responder agency in the US. T-Mobile is promising to offer this program for 10 years, spending "up to $7.7 billion" on it.
- Project 10Million: In an attempt to address "the homework gap", T-Mobile will offer free mobile hotspots and 100 GB/year of free data to low-income families with children and no home internet access. The company promises to spend $700 million equipping 10 million households with free hardware, and spend $10 billion offering free service for five years.
- T-Mobile Connect: A $15/month prepaid plan available to everyone that offers 2GB of high-speed data plus unlimited talk and text. A step-up plan would offer 5GB of data for $25/month. T-Mobile also commits to increase the data limit of each plan by 0.5 GB every year for the next five years.
T-Mobile has announced December 6th as the launch date for its low-band 5G network, which will use band 71 (600 MHz). The nationwide network will cover more than 200 million Americans and more than 5,000 cities and towns across the country. Unlike mmWave 5G networks that have limited coverage and building penetration, T-Mobile's low-band 5G network uses a frequency band already used for 4G, and will thus offer the same coverage and properties as the 4G network. Sprint is pursuing a similar strategy with its 5G network, and AT&T plans to add low-band to its 5G network in the coming months. T-Mobile has also launched mmWave 5G in parts of Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York. T-Mobile will offer three 5G phones. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G only supports the mmWave networks. The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G and OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren only support the new low-band network launching Dec. 6.
Verizon has launched its mmWave 5G service in two new cities: Dallas, Texas and Omaha, Nebraska. The brings Verizon's number of 5G cities to 15. Because Verizon's 5G network to date uses mmWave frequency bands, coverage is limited to specific blocks and landmarks. In Dallas, service will be concentrated in parts of: Knox/Henderson, Downtown Dallas, Uptown, Medical Center Area, Deep Ellum; and around select landmarks and parks. In Omaha, service will be concentrated around landmarks such as Old Market, Omaha Children’s Museum, The Orpheum Theatre, The Durham Museum, Heartland of America Park, Central High School and Creighton University.
When T-Mobile launches low-band 5G later this year, the two phones that support it will also be capable of supporting Sprint's already-launched mid-band 5G network, should the two companies be allowed to merge. The OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren and Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ will both support 5G in bands 71 (T-Mobile's 600 MHz) and 41 (Sprint's 2,500 MHz). Those two phones do not, however, support 5G in the mmWave bands, which T-Mobile has launched in several cities. T-Mobile does sell the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G which supports its mmWave 5G network but not the upcoming low-band network. When T-Mobile launches low-band 5G this year, it will cover 200 million people, far more than any other US 5G network to date.
Sprint today announced that its 5G coverage has expanded to cover 16 million people in the nine cities where it has launched 5G so far, up from 11 million a few months ago.
OnePlus announced the OnePlus 7T Pro two weeks ago, saying that the phone would not come to the US. That was half true. The 5G version of the phone will come to T-Mobile later this year, and it will be the special McLaren limited edition of the phone. The OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren is the second 5G phone to be announced by T-Mobile, after the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G. The new OnePlus will support sub-6 GHz 5G, specifically in band 71, T-Mobile's low-band 600 MHz spectrum that reaches farther than most other frequency bands. The OnePlus 7T Pro is based on the 7 Pro, with updated specs to match and best the newer 7T. It packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chip, 12 GB of RAM, three cameras (including a 48 megapixel main camera and 3x optical zoom), 4085 mAh battery, and Warp Charge 30T fast charging. Its 6.67-inch OLED display sports HDR, 90 Hz refresh, and quad-HD resolution; it's curved at the sides and covers the whole face with no notch, thanks to a pop-up selfie camera. The McLaren design sports a carbon-fiber back with a wood-grain look, and accents in McLaren’s "hallmark papaya orange racing tint." It comes with a case accented in carbon fiber and Alcantara. T-Mobile is not yet announcing pricing nor a specific release date.
5G is a new radio technology, so naturally those most concerned about environmental health have been asking if it's safe. New antennas are going up outside apartment windows, and most of us tend to keep our phones quite close to us at all times. There's a lot of science on the subject, and also a lot of pseudo-science. We try to cut through the bull to explain the safety issues with radio waves in general, cell phones in particular, and what makes 5G different.
Verizon has revealed that it will light up its mmWave 5G service in New York City in one week, on September 26th. As with all mmWave deployments, it will focus on dense, downtown areas and public spaces, rather than broad citywide coverage. The coverage areas include parts of uptown, midtown, and downtown Manhattan, along with select parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. NYC is Verizon's 11th 5G city. The company has promised to launch 5G in 30 US cities by the end of the year. Verizon's lineup of phones with integrated 5G include the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, and Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G.
Qualcomm today revealed an accelerated timeline for bringing integrated 5G to its Snapdragon chips for mid-range phones. An unnamed 7xx-series Snapdragon chip that fully integrates a 5G modem is already sampling to customers such as LG, Motorola, and Nokia / HMD Global (among others), with the chip launching commercially before the end of 2019, and phones using the chip available "soon thereafter". The chip fully supports all mmWave and sub-6 GHz frequency bands for 5G worldwide, as well as both NSA and SA networks, both TDD and FDD modes, and DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, which allows 5G and 4G to share existing frequency bands). The company also plans to bring 5G to its 6xx-series Snapdragon chips, with devices using those those chips expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2020.
Verizon 5G service is now live in 13 NFL football stadiums around the US. Additional stadiums will be announced throughout the season. Of the 13, Verizon has named 12, leaving the 13th a mystery. Verizon's mmWave 5G service is potentially well-suited to small, high-density areas like stadiums. Verizon recently announced a partnership with Boingo on deploying 5G in areas like stadiums. The 12 announced stadiums are: Bank of America Stadium, Empower Field at Mile High, CenturyLink Field, Ford Field, Gillette Stadium, Hard Rock Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, NRG Stadium, Soldier Field, and U.S. Bank Stadium.
Sprint today launched 5G service in four new cities, and launched one new 5G phone: The OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, available starting today. In New York City, 5G covers 1.7 million people, and parts of Manhattan from Central Park to the southern tip. It also covers La Guardia and JFK Airports, parts of Flushing and Rockaway Beach in Queens, Red Hook in Brooklyn and Concourse in the Bronx. In New Jersey, Sprint will cover areas of Hudson County including Union City and North Bergen. In Los Angeles, 5G now covers covers approximately 1.2 million people with service available from Marina del Rey to Downtown L.A., and West Hollywood to Culver City. In addition, Sprint 5G is also available in parts of Orange County, Pasadena and Cerritos. In Washington, DC, 5G covers approximately 520,000 people with service available in popular parts of the District, as well as areas of Montgomery County, Arlington, and Fairfax County. In Phoenix, 5G covers approximately 740,000 people with service available across the greater Phoenix metro area with service in parts of Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale and Glendale. The company also announced expanded 5G coverage in existing 5G cities of Kansas City, Dallas-Ft Worth, Atlanta, and Houston. Sprint also announced that its Unlimited Premium plan now includes a free three-month trial of the Hatch game-streaming service. The OnePlus 7 Pro 5G is very similar to the OnePlus 7 Pro, simply with 5G.
Verizon will work with Boingo Wireless, a specialist in building indoor wireless networks, to expand its 5G network to places like airports, stadiums and arenas, office buildings, and hotels. Boingo has been building dense indoor Wi-Fi networks for 15 years. Verizon's mmWave 5G has short-range coverage similar to Wi-Fi.
Phoenix will be the 10th city where Verizon has launched its mmWave 5g service, which covers central areas of major cities. Initially, 5G service in Phoenix will be concentrated around several well-known landmarks in Downtown Phoenix, as well as Tempe and the Arizona State University campus.