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Samsung phones on Verizon get meaningful 5G support

It'll be the first taste of 5G for many Android users.

Published onOctober 20, 2020

samsung galaxy s20 plus review display in hand 1
  • Samsung phones on Verizon can finally use the carrier’s lower-band 5G network.
  • The provider’s versions of the Galaxy S20, Note 20, A51, and A71 families are eligible.
  • You’ll need at least the September 2020 security patch to make use of 5G.

Samsung phones were among the first to support 5G in the US, but you might not have known it on Verizon (disclaimer: this author also writes for Verizon-owned Engadget) when the carrier’s millimeter wave technology limited the faster speeds to a handful of areas. You’ll finally get a chance to try it in earnest, though, as SamMobile reports that some Samsung phones are finally getting access to Verizon’s low-band “Nationwide” 5G service.

You’ll need a relatively recent device. The Galaxy S20 series, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy A51 5G UW and Galaxy A71 5G UW will all support the wider frequency ranges. You may already have support if your phone has received the September 2020 security update.

All of Verizon’s current phone plans include 5G access.

Read more: The best 5G plans in the US

This could easily be your first taste of 5G if you’re a Samsung phone owner using Verizon’s network, and it might be slightly faster than T-Mobile’s if you live in an area where the rival provider’s mid-band 5G isn’t an option. AT&T is closer to Verizon in that it uses both low-band (already available for a while) and mmWave coverage.

Just don’t expect a night-and-day difference. Low-band 5G can have speed and latency advantages over LTE, but you won’t see the dramatic gigabit-plus performance associated with mmWave. These early 5G devices may also take a hit to battery life if you’re constantly accessing the newer network.

Even so, this is a big step forward for making 5G accessible in the US. Apple’s iPhone 12 will clearly help with 5G adoption, but the company’s phones only represent about half the country’s market share. There are many Android users still waiting for 5G access, and Samsung support on Verizon is key to filling that gap.

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