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Compatibility of 5G Phones


suzannegoh
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There are dozens of different frequency bands that are part of the 5G standard, ranging from 600 MHz to 47 GHz.  Different bands are used In different countries and in many cases within the same country different ISPs will use different bands. 

If someone wanted to buy a phone, either in Thailand or elsewhere, that had maximum compatibility with the 5G frequency bands used in Thailand, the US, and the EU, which phone would be the best choice?
 

Edited by suzannegoh
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I recently purchased the Samsung A32 5G mainly because both Thai and US Cell providers offer this phone as a 5G Device.  So far no complaints.  Unlocked version was 9999 baht at a local phone store.  

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6 minutes ago, sqwakvfr said:

I recently purchased the Samsung A32 5G mainly because both Thai and US Cell providers offer this phone as a 5G Device.  So far no complaints.  Unlocked version was 9999 baht at a local phone store.  

Have you used in it both Thailand and the US?  The version of the A32 that Samsung sells in Thailand might not have the same specs as the one that they sell in the US.

 

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1 hour ago, suzannegoh said:

Have you used in it both Thailand and the US?  The version of the A32 that Samsung sells in Thailand might not have the same specs as the one that they sell in the US.

 

No.  I will find out in about a month when I leave LOS.  I did have a Samsung A31(4G) that I bought in Thailand that did not work on the ATT network but did work on the T-Mobile network(the speed was very slow)..  ATT told me their entire network in 2022 will be upgraded to 5G and only 4G or higher phones will work on their networks(Based upon past experience I believe ATT is full of "Bull Droppings") .  I can't prove this but in the US cell phone carriers do not like it when one brings their own phone.  Some have posted that some US Carriers intentionally "throttle" these customers.  As far as I know a 5G phone should work across the spectrum of the 5G network.  I know my A32 is 5G compatible because in some parts of Chiang Mai I am getting 500+Mbps.  My average speed across the entire city is usually 100+Mbps.  My A31 never got speeds like that. 

Edited by sqwakvfr
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5 minutes ago, sqwakvfr said:

No.  I will find out in about a month when I leave LOS.  I did have a Samsung A31(4G) that I bought in Thailand that did not work on the ATT network but did work on the T-Mobile network(the speed was very slow)..  ATT told me their entire network in 2022 will be upgraded to 5G and only 4G or higher phones will work on their networks(Based upon past experience I believe ATT is full of "Bull Droppings") .  I can't prove this but in the US cell phone carriers do not like it when one brings their own phone.  Some have posted that some US Carriers intentionally "throttle" these customers.  As far as I know a 5G phone should work across the spectrum of the 5G network.  I know my A32 is 5G compatible because in some parts of Chiang Mai I am getting 500+Mbps.  My average speed across the entire city is usually 100+Mbps.  My A31 never got speeds like that. 

For 4G (LTE) I’ve had good luck with compatibility between Thailand and the US when using a iPhone purchased directly from Apple’s slave labor camp in China.  With Samsung phones and tablets, not so much.

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You would have to look at the specs for each model.

e.g. If you look at Apple's webpage for the iPhone 13 specs, they are not the same for all models. Some sold in the US and Chinese markets might have extra wavelengths that they can operate at. mm wave?

But to be honest, I don't think they will make a great deal of difference.

Apple sells a global model which is a phone set up for most markets. They don't need the hassle themselves of making too many difference models of the same phones.

I would imagine Samsung would be the same.

 

See this:

Sub-6 vs mmWave

You may have heard about two types of 5G signal: Sub-6GHz and mmWave. The good news is that for the most part you don't need to consider this too much.

Every 5G phone ships with Sub-6 support, and conveniently this is the most common standard worldwide, including the UK and Europe.

mmWave is a shorter wavelength standard that is capable of higher speeds, but with worse range. For the moment it's only widespread in the US, and as a result it tends to only be US phones that include mmWave chips - Apple supports mmWave in its US iPhone models, for example, but not elsewhere.

If you're in North America then it is worth checking if a phone supports mmWave or not, but even there you shouldn't consider it a dealbreaker. Outside the US, there's really no point considering it at all.

 

Edited by phetphet
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21 minutes ago, phetphet said:

You would have to look at the specs for each model.

e.g. If you look at Apple's webpage for the iPhone 13 specs, they are not the same for all models. Some sold in the US and Chinese markets might have extra wavelengths that they can operate at. mm wave?

But to be honest, I don't think they will make a great deal of difference.

Apple sells a global model which is a phone set up for most markets. They don't need the hassle themselves of making too many difference models of the same phones.

I would imagine Samsung would be the same.

 

See this:

Sub-6 vs mmWave

You may have heard about two types of 5G signal: Sub-6GHz and mmWave. The good news is that for the most part you don't need to consider this too much.

Every 5G phone ships with Sub-6 support, and conveniently this is the most common standard worldwide, including the UK and Europe.

mmWave is a shorter wavelength standard that is capable of higher speeds, but with worse range. For the moment it's only widespread in the US, and as a result it tends to only be US phones that include mmWave chips - Apple supports mmWave in its US iPhone models, for example, but not elsewhere.

If you're in North America then it is worth checking if a phone supports mmWave or not, but even there you shouldn't consider it a dealbreaker. Outside the US, there's really no point considering it at all.

 

So, in other words, you don’t know but I should be able to figure it out with sufficient research.

Edited by suzannegoh
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3 hours ago, suzannegoh said:

So, in other words, you don’t know but I should be able to figure it out with sufficient research.

No I don't know, but I tried to help by offering you some advice and information about looking for "global models" as I was only reading up on the iPhone 5G bands myself the other day..

But if my information was of no use, then yes, do your own research.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Zaphod said:

I bought both a Samsung S21+ and a Samsung A8(2018) in Thailand and have been using them in the US on both AT&T and T-Mobile with no issues. Just my 2 satang input. 

Thanks for that input.  I assume you mean that they connect to 5G both here and in the US and that they weren't dropping back to LTE (4G) in the US. 

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I think you need to understand the provider's networks as well.

 

And how broad their Sub-6 or mmWave coverage might be.

 

For the U.S. I'd focus on 4G/LTE compatibility. It's plenty fast enough, and has extremely broad coverage, and is available via MVNOs.

 

19 hours ago, suzannegoh said:

If someone wanted to buy a phone, either in Thailand or elsewhere, that had maximum compatibility with the 5G frequency bands used in Thailand, the US, and the EU, which phone would be the best choice?

Not sure there's one answer to this question right now. Even high-end phones like iPhone 13 and Pixel 6 Pro have different models.

 

And 5G may not even be available for visitors, tourists, pre-paid, MVNO (in countries outside of Thailand).

 

30 minutes ago, suzannegoh said:

Thanks for that input.  I assume you mean that they connect to 5G both here and in the US and that they weren't dropping back to LTE (4G) in the US. 

 

I doubt a Samsung A8 (2018) supports 5G. It should work fine both here and in the U.S. on 4G/LTE. And there are ~ 7 different S21+ models.

 

 

Net-net it's still way too early to future-proof a 5G HW purchase today. You can prioritize, but there will be trade-offs.

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, sqwakvfr said:

I recently purchased the Samsung A32 5G mainly because both Thai and US Cell providers offer this phone as a 5G Device.  So far no complaints.  Unlocked version was 9999 baht at a local phone store.  

Seems like a decent compromise.

 

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/coverage-map

 

AFAIK, this phone would only work (5G) on n41 (2500) with T-Mobile in the U.S. and the same band here on AIS and TrueMove. It will work on 4G/LTE, 3G, etc in the U.S. as well.

 

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/coverage-map

 

5G Ultra Capacity, darkest color, drill down.

 

 

 

 

Edited by mtls2005
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9 minutes ago, mtls2005 said:

I think you need to understand the provider's networks as well.

 

And how broad their Sub-6 or mmWave coverage might be.

 

For the U.S. I'd focus on 4G/LTE compatibility. It's plenty fast enough, and has extremely broad coverage, and is available via MVNOs.

 

Not sure there's one answer to this question right now. Even high-end phones like iPhone 13 and Pixel 6 Pro have different models.

 

And 5G may not even be available for visitors, tourists, pre-paid, MVNO (in countries outside of Thailand).

 

 

I doubt a Samsung A8 (2018) supports 5G. It should work fine both here and in the U.S. on 4G/LTE. And there are ~ 7 different S21+ models.

 

 

Net-net it's still way too early to future-proof a 5G HW purchase today. You can prioritize, but there will be trade-offs.

 

 

 

Thanks for those insights.  I've  found 4G LTE compatibility of an iPhone7 to be good between Thailand and the US, so if 5G compatibility is out of the question and one should focus on 4G/LTE then answer to the original post boils down to "don't buy a new phone".

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Which provider do you use when you are in the U.S?

 

5 minutes ago, suzannegoh said:

an iPhone7

 

5 minutes ago, suzannegoh said:

"don't buy a new phone".

 

I mean, the iPhone 7 must be getting a bit long in the tooth? Storage, performance, battery, latest IOS.

 

 

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32 minutes ago, mtls2005 said:

Seems like a decent compromise.

 

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/coverage-map

 

AFAIK, this phone would only work (5G) on n41 (2500) with T-Mobile in the U.S. and the same band here on AIS and TrueMove. It will work on 4G/LTE, 3G, etc in the U.S. as well.

 

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/coverage-map

 

5G Ultra Capacity, darkest color, drill down.

 

 

 

 

That does sound like it might be a good compromise but I’m having trouble figuring out from that T-Mobile map where they have n41 5G.  They show two flavors of 5G: “Ultra Capacity” and “Extended Range”.    Most of the map shows the 5G as being Extended Range, and I think that’s on the 600MHz band.  Their “Ultra Capacity” might be a mix of 2500MHz and mmWave but I don’t see that specifically stated anywhere.

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My bad, I thought ALL Ultra Capacity was n41, it is not... could be n41, n71, n260, n261

 

Ultra Capacity (UC) 5G
With Ultra Capacity 5G, you’ll experience a performance boost, a reliable connection in crowded locations, and speeds as fast as Wi-Fi.
Look for the newly released  icon on your iPhone or Android screen to know when you’re in an area with our fastest speeds!
Frequencies that can provide UC 5G: 
Band n41 (2.5 GHz)
Band n258 (24 GHz)
Band n260 (39 GHz)
Band n261 (28 GHz)

 

https://www.t-mobile.com/support/coverage/t-mobile-network

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57 minutes ago, mtls2005 said:

Seems like a decent compromise.

 

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/coverage-map

 

AFAIK, this phone would only work (5G) on n41 (2500) with T-Mobile in the U.S. and the same band here on AIS and TrueMove. It will work on 4G/LTE, 3G, etc in the U.S. as well.

 

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/coverage-map

 

5G Ultra Capacity, darkest color, drill down.

 

 

 

 

I'm confused though.  AIS seems to be saying that their 5G is operating at 2600MHz and in some places I see that referred to as n41.  However the 3GPP spec says that n41 is 2500MHz, and that's what the spectrum that T-Mobile acquired from Sprint is.

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Get the IMEI off the box of a phone you are interested in and check in frequencycheck.com.   You can check any make and model at a country level, as well as against providers.

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2 hours ago, tjintx said:

Get the IMEI off the box of a phone you are interested in and check in frequencycheck.com.   You can check any make and model at a country level, as well as against providers.

 

Seems outdated? No sign of a phone from my manufacturer since 2017.

 

And not too many have an IMEI ahead of an unboxing?

 

 

Kimovil seems more up to date?

 

Scroll down for service providers, shows MVNOs which can be handy.

 

https://www.kimovil.com/en/frequency-checker/US/samsung-galaxy-a32-5g

 

 

 

 

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