With all the marquee phones in the industry getting 5G, the next-generation wireless technology has finally hit its mainstream target.
After a bumpy start with speed inconsistencies and other issues, 5G mobile phones are coming into their own as the major carriers continue to expand 5G coverage into more cities, and new devices compatible with multiple networks are coming out. In fact, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have all announced nationwide coverage. But just how quickly that life-changing aspect of 5G will arrive remains up in the air.
And amazingly, the 5G expansion has moved forward despite COVID-19, which has locked down millions around the world, slowing down the 5G rollout and dampening consumer enthusiasm for pricey new devices.
However, despite the coming of age of the 5G specific phone, consumers still have doubts about what they’re getting – and for good reason. The problem is the major carriers are using different spectrums for their 5G base. And each spectrum has its advantages and drawbacks.
Carriers using low-band spectrum have a wider range of coverage but speeds are only marginally better than 4G.
On the opposite end of the scale is the super high-frequency band known as the millimeter wave spectrum. If your carrier uses this spectrum your 5G phone should provide very fast speeds but there could be issues with a short range and penetration of the signal through walls and windows.
Still, the most commonly used type of spectrum around the world is the mid-band. Many feel the mid-band radio spectrum offers the best mix of speed and range.
The major carriers power 5G phones from specific radio frequencies either purchased before the advent of 5G or from spectrum auctions held by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
It’s believe that carriers who initially missed out on sufficient ownership of high-frequency millimeter waves or the mid-band spectrum will have more opportunities in future FCC auctions.
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