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Americans may not be able to take full advantage of the 5G iPhone

Apple is expected to release its first iPhone models that support 5G networks on Tuesday.

These iPhones will be able to take advantage of faster next-generation networks from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile for faster download speeds and stronger wireless connections.

In the US, carriers are still building their 5G networks. When the 5G iPhone comes out, depending on what bands it supports, some users looking for a maritime change in wireless speeds may have to wait until their carrier catches up with the phone’s capabilities.

The speeds for 5G will be faster, but not necessarily fast enough to be a reason to upgrade until US carriers complete their networks. So far, 5G download speeds are only 1

.8 times faster than 4G LTE speeds in the United States, according to Opensignal, a company that tracks wireless speeds around the world.

But in other countries with 5G networks that use the so-called “midrange frequency,” speeds are five times faster than LTE, according to Opensignal.

5G is not a monolith. There are three different versions of 5G connections that use different radio frequencies and come with their own advantages and different speeds. Ultimately, carriers are aiming to create all three different types of 5G over the next two or three years, but so far no American carrier has incorporated all three different types of 5G into their retail networks.

“In the United States, when you see a millimeter wave and you see a low-bandwidth, it’s not 5G, it’s just two parts of 5G,” said Ian Fogg, vice president of analysis at Opensignal. “5G will also have a midrange. What we see in the US right now is version .9 or version 1.0, it will improve a lot.”

This is very technical digging jargon, so let’s split each type of 5G to make it as simple as possible.

High frequency band, also known as millimeter wave, mmWave or ultra wideband

This is the fastest type of 5G, but there are limitations based on the wireless frequency it uses. It cannot travel as far as other waves, which means that carriers have to build more stations to distribute it, and it will focus mainly on dense urban areas. Verizon has opted for a millimeter wave, which it calls ultra-wideband, although it is currently only available in 36 cities, according to its website.

The advantage is that the maximum connection speeds with millimeter waves can reach 1 gigabit per second, according to carriers such as Verizon. This will blow up current 4G LTE networks, potentially allowing users to download movies in seconds.

AT&T and T-Mobile are also currently building a millimeter wave in their networks in major cities. So far, the millimeter wave is a US-based phenomenon, Fogg said, and other countries have not released networks for sale, only tests, although that could change if the new iPhones support the millimeter wave.

Middle bar

Medium band is the most common type of 5G in the world, but it is not yet widely developed in the United States, as operators need the FCC to sell rights to certain wavelengths needed to operate the network. The auctions are scheduled for later this year and next. Fogg said that it was the “Goldilocks band” for 5G that would balance the distance that could travel at significantly higher speeds that American consumers would notice.

In South Korea, more than 10% of wireless subscribers are currently on 5G, which means the average bandwidth in the country. The average bandwidth can vary between 100 and 300 Mbps, which is comparable to a cable broadband connection. In the United States, T-Mobile launched 5G mid-band 5G in September in some cities and states, using wavelength rights obtained from the Sprint merger.

Low frequency band

These are the references of advertisements by American carriers, which boast of their coverage for “5G” throughout the country. It is faster than 4G networks, but is the slowest type of 5G. Its biggest advantage is that it provides the best range, and in the United States, the wavelengths required for its operation are now available to carriers.

AT&T and T-Mobile currently offer 5G low-bandwidth in many different regions and states. In the case of T-Mobile, it is already advertised to be available in all 50 states. However, users will see the least improvement in speed with a low-frequency 5G, and it may not be worth upgrading to a 5G phone if only a low-frequency range is available. On average, speeds won’t feel much faster than the 4G connection you’re used to.

Eventually, operators will offer all three types of 5G, and smartphones will be able to connect to multiple tapes for better performance.

“We are really at the beginning of the 5G era. We see different American carriers running a portion of the 5G service,” Fogg said.

Ultimately, carriers will offer a millimeter-wave service in urban areas to provide very high speeds, medium bandwidth to cover most of the area with good speeds and good coverage, and low bandwidth to reach large sections. of the area.

An event such as the launch of the 5G iPhone could also trigger a wave of messages from carriers around the world that they are expanding or including 5G networks. In countries such as the United States and Japan, where a large proportion of the population uses the iPhone, the availability of 5G iPhones on sale can create a critical mass of 5G users, urging operators to speed up their network plans.

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