Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G lacks an important 5G band for coverage

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is the very latest flagship phone series that you can pre-order at the moment. If you’re looking for the best mobile connectivity, only the Galaxy S20 Ultra comes with 5G support as Samsung Malaysia is offering the LTE variants for the Galaxy S20 and S20+ in our market.

5G 700MHz band is missing

The Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G has passed our SIRIM certification with the model number SM-G988B/DS. Unfortunately, when it comes to 5G bands, the device only supports 3.5GHz and 3.7GHz as shown below. What’s missing is the lower 700MHz band which is supported by the Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G and Oppo’s upcoming flagship, the Find X2 Pro. You can click on the image below for a better view.

Why is 700MHz important?

As announced by the MCMC, the 5G spectrum bands identified for Malaysia are 700MHz, 3.5GHz, 26GHz and 28GHz. Our local telcos are expected to roll out 5G with the 700MHz and 3.5GHz spectrum for mobile usage as it offers a good balance of capacity and coverage.

With 3.5GHz, the Galaxy S20 Ultra for Malaysia is capable of pushing gigabit speeds over a 5G network. However, without 700MHz support, this means the device would more likely switch to 4G LTE in less dense areas especially in rural towns.

At the recent 5G Demonstration Project in Langkawi, TM is the first telco in the world to trial 5G SA on both 700MHz and 3500MHz simultaneously. During the demonstration, they shared that 3.5GHz offers a higher-capacity to support more users in high-density areas while 700MHz helps to expand its 5G footprint.

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The telco also shared that a single 700MHz base station can theoretically cover an area up to 10km which is ideal to provide high-speed access in rural areas. Of course, 700MHz being a lower band will have less capacity and as a result, speeds will be lower at around 200Mbps. But at least, it is still better than 4G with around 20-30% better performance on the same spectrum.

Obviously, the higher 26GHz and 28GHz can provide even higher bandwidth but mmWave has very small coverage and it can’t really penetrate walls. On top of that, our tropical climate makes it challenging to deploy mmWave as higher frequency signals are more likely to be affected by light rain.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is currently offered with 12GB RAM and 128GB of storage with a retail price of RM4,999. Pre-order is now available until 26th February and customers can get it as early as 4th March 2020.

What do you think about the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G lacking 700MHz support? Let us know in the comments below. Even if 5G deployment will begin in Q3 2020, realistically it would probably take years for our telcos to achieve a significant nationwide footprint. By then, you would have probably switched to a newer device.

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Alexander Wong