Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra are the first unlocked 5G phones in the country

According to sources, the new line up of Samsung Galaxy S20 phones will be the first unlocked phones that work on all of the major US carriers’ 5G networks. There will only be one hardware version of the S20+ and S20 Ultra sold by all carriers, so even if you buy it with a carrier’s firmware pre-loaded, it can be used on other carriers in the future as well.

The S20+ and S20 Ultra are the first phones to support all of the 5G bands and network technology used by all four US carriers, and Samsung confirmed that it can be switched between carriers. Additionally, AT&T sources indicate that the S20+ and S20 Ultra will support improved performance through better carrier aggregation later this year.

Qualcomm chip may be powering the 5G iPhone 12

Apple is reportedly working on two separate designs as it ramps up preparations for the 5G support iPhone 12 later this year

The company is widely expected to use Qualcomm modems to offer fast wireless connectivity with 5G support, but it is now being reported that Apple may not use Qualcomm’s QTM 525 millimeter-wave antenna as it does not fit into the slim design of the upcoming iPhones.

According to reports, Apple feels that the new iPhone’s industrial design may not have enough space for the Qualcomm antenna, and is instead working on a couple of design variants right now, with one design using both the X55 modem and Qualcomm’s antenna, causing a slightly thicker build, alongside another thinner design that uses Apple’s in-house antenna.

5G iPhone and iPad Pro models coming in second half of 2020

Taiwanese publication DigiTimes is reporting that Apple is on track to launch iPhone and iPad Pro models with 5G capability by fall of 2020, according to their sources. The reports indicate that the devices will use 5nm-based A14 chips and support a combination of mmWave and sub-6GHz, which is important as US carriers are using a variety of frequency bands for their respective networks. Apple is expected to utilize Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem for the iPhones, but the modem to be used in the 5G iPad Pro remains to be seen.

DigiTimes believes that Apple will announce both the iPhone and iPad Pro 5G models in September. Additional rumors also suggest that Apple may first release an updated version of the iPad Pro in March, and when the 5G iPhone and iPad Pro launch later this year, the specs and hardware of the new 5G models likely won’t differ from existing models (except for the modem).


T-Mobile Will Soon Offer Home Internet

In March 2019, T-Mobile announced that they have started to test home Internet services using 4G LTE. At this time, T-Mobile limited the test to 50,000 customers. Recently T-Mobile promised if the merger happened, they would roll it out nationwide. Now that the merger has been approved, look for this to become a reality soon.

This new home service will offer 50 Mbps home Internet for $50 a month with no data caps. T-Mobile is quick to add that the new 5G home Internet service will be far faster when available, According to T-Mobile, this service comes with no annual contracts, no data caps, no hidden fees, no price hikes, and no hardware costs. This is part of three initiatives new T-Mobile promised would happen after the Sprint/T-Mobile merger

T-Mobile / Sprint merger approved by federal judge

U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero has cleared the path for the long-awaited merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, rejecting a claim by a group of states that said the deal would violate antitrust laws and raise prices and approving T-Mobile’s takeover of Sprint.

The deal, originally valued at $26 billion, already had federal approval, but went through a 2-week trial late last year wherein a group of states led by California and New York argued that the merger would reduce competition and lead to higher prices. For their part, T-Mobile and Sprint argued the merger will allow the new company to better compete with Verizon and AT&T, enabling them to offer better pricing and faster internet speeds.

“The court concludes that the proposed merger is not reasonably likely to substantially lessen competition,” Judge Marrero wrote. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai agreed, saying the ruling was a big win for American consumers and would help ensure U.S. leadership in rolling out a 5G network.

The states opposing the deal expressed displeasure at the ruling. New York’s attorney general said the state is considering an appeal, and California’s attorney general said that state is “prepared to fight.”

Barr’s call for U.S. control of 5G providers quickly rebuked

Trump administration officials, progressively intent on preventing Chinese global technological domination, keep floating the idea that the U.S. government should take a more direct hand in running next-generation 5G wireless networks.

But the notion isn’t terribly popular — not even within the administration.

On Thursday, Attorney General William Barr said the U.S. government should consider taking a controlling stake in the European companies Nokia and Ericsson to thwart the global ambitions of China-based Huawei, which holds a leading share of the market for 5G wireless equipment. The federal government could do so directly or via a company of U.S. and private investors, Barr said.

Get Ready for a New 5G Galaxy

AT&T and Verizon both expanded their 5G ultra-wideband reach in January AT&T much more than Verizon, but none of the cellular carriers made truly major moves in the past few weeks with the 5G network. That’s all about to change with the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup on February 11, and the Mobile World Congress trade show starting February 24. The two events will deliver what is expected to be the first truly popular 5G phones to US carrier.

Up until now, the major, mainstream flagship phones in the US haven’t been 5G. Most of the high-end phones sold here are either Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy Note, or Apple iPhone models, and up until now, only super-expensive variants of the S and Note have carried 5G support.

Samsung could duplicate last year’s strategy and only offer 5G on its highest-end Galaxy S20 models. But if it goes ahead and activates 5G up and down its line, millions more Americans will start to use 5G networks.

5G-capable Galaxy S20 specs leak online

Samsung is set to announce the latest Galaxy phones on February 11, and rumors indicate the new lineup will be called the S20 instead of the S11 as previously thought. The new models are rumored to be the Galaxy S20 5G, S20 Plus 5G and S20 Ultra 5G.

Pricing for the new 5G phones is likely to be similar to iPhone 11 series pricing, ranging from under $1000 for the standard version and going up to $1200 for the Ultra. Rumored specs include improved cameras, the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, and fast-charging batteries:

Galaxy S20 5G (rumored specs)

  • 6.2-inch AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Cameras: 12-megapixel main, 64-megapixel telephoto with 3x optical zoom, 12-megapixel ultrawide
  • 10-megapixel single punch-hole front-facing camera
  • 128GB RAM
  • 4,000-mAh battery
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor

Galaxy S20 Pro/Plus 5G (rumored specs)

  • 6.7-inch AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Cameras: 12-megapixel main, 64-megapixel telephoto and 3x digital zoom, 12-megapixel ultrawide, time-of-flight sensor
  • 10-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 128GB of storage (starting)
  • 12GB RAM
  • 4,500-mAh battery with 25-watt fast charging
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor

Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G (rumored specs)

  • 6.9-inch AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Cameras: 108-megapixel main, 48-megapixel telephoto with 10x optical zoom, 12-megapixel ultrawide, time-of-flight sensor
  • 40-megapixel wide front-facing camera
  • 128GB, 256GB, 512GB internal storage
  • MicroSD card support, 12GB or 16GB RAM
  • 5,000-mAh battery with optional 45-watt fast-charger
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor

Winners of Verizon’s “Built on 5G Challenge” show innovative uses for 5G technology

Verizon’s “Built on 5G Challenge” asked innovators to submit ideas that showcased how 5G could increase business efficiency, improve immersive experiences and/or solve customers’ most challenging problems. They received over 550 submissions, from which they selected three winners:

  • First Place: The $1 million winner is Ario. The company has developed an augmented reality (AR) productivity platform to increase workplace safety and efficiency. Ario will use Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband to improve the platform’s performance with advanced connectivity and improved image recognition. 
  • Second place: The $500,000 prize winner is GAROU. The company’s virtual reality (VR) content platform leverages a 3D model of the world as an interface for accessing content and for in-VR social interaction. The company will use Verizon 5G to improve VR technology in a multi-user setting and help users access content in real time.
  • Third place: The $250,000 prize winner is LexSet. The company generates synthetic image data from 3D content to train high-performance computer vision AI. The company will use Verizon 5G to enable advances in edge-based mixed reality, robotics, and inventory management.

The winners will have access to Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband at Verizon’s 5G Labs for 8 weeks, where they’ll work with 5G specialists to develop their concepts. “These innovators have come up with some really ground-breaking solutions that can only be fully realized with the fast speeds, massive bandwidth and super-low latency that Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband offers,” said Nicki Palmer, chief product development officer at Verizon. “By bringing these companies into our 5G Labs, where we collaborate with universities, startups and enterprises to co-create 5G concepts, we’re giving them access to all the tools they need to create truly transformational experiences that will reshape entire industries.”

Verizon CEO explains why millimeter wave makes their 5G network unique

Several carriers have launched 5G service in various parts of the country now, but each one utilizes different frequencies (or a combination of frequencies) for their respective networks. 5G service operating on higher frequencies is faster, but has very limited range, while carriers using lower-band spectrum can offer better coverage but more limited speeds.

Many carriers are incorporating parts of the high-band spectrum (millimeter wave or mmWave) into their 5G networks to varying degrees, but only Verizon has made millimeter wave the backbone of their network. Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg explained that this strategy is what will make Verizon the leader in 5G, saying “I think we’re building a unique 5G experience with our millimeter wave that nobody else is building…I think that’s really where the difference will come. We already have the best 4G network, as you have seen from the latest J.D. Power and RootMetrics [studies]. We’re going to continue to have that. We’re going to give the best experience to our customers and I’m confident that how we are building the network will make a big difference.”

Vestberg also confirmed that the company plans to continue with this strategy, with no need to branch out into other spectrums. “We first of all have all the assets to deploy our 5G strategy,” he said with regard to mmWave spectrum.

Testing from early adopters of Verizon’s 5G service has confirmed that Verizon’s service is incredibly fast – although as expected, range is limited and users generally need to be outdoors and in very specific coverage areas to actually access 5G.