Samsung’s Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Plus Ultra hit stores on Friday, March 6 and with it, the first big 5G launch gets underway. While the Galaxy S10 line from last year was largely 4G-focused, Samsung’s S20 phones are the first major family of devices to incorporate 5G on every US carrier, and they’re ready from the get-go to tap into the country’s nascent 5G networks. Since the launch of 5G in 2019, networks have matured and 5G phones are more capable thanks to the upgraded 5G-compatible Qualcomm chips inside them. All the S20 phones will support 5G in addition to 4G LTE in the US on all four major carriers.
But that’s not to say each carrier will be getting the same phones or that each experience will be the same. If you’re considering buying an S20 for the 5G capabilities, here’s what you’ll need to know.
Samsung has three main Galaxy S20 phones in its lineup: the S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra. The phones share many features, but one area the S20 will differ from its more powerful (and pricier) siblings is when it comes to 5G.
Both the S20 Plus and Ultra will support the fast millimeter-wave 5G networks
Its S20 phones should be capable of using those bands when available.
This is a break from Samsung’s first 5G devices — the S10 5G and Note 10 Plus 5G — which either supported just millimeter-wave 5G or low-band and midband 5G, due to limitations with Qualcomm’s first 5G modem. With Qualcomm’s new X55 modem and latest Snapdragon 865 processor, those limitations go away.