Does Sub 6 5G Network display 5G or LTE+ on Factory Unlocked Samsung S20 Phones?

I have the Samsung Factory Unlocked version of the S20+ (model SG-M986U1).  This means the phone is not carrier-specific, it works on all carriers (CDMA, GSM) and supports both millimeter wave (Verizon 5G Ultra Wide UW) AND lower frequency band 5G (usually called Sub 6).  The 5G UW super fast network is typically only available in highly populated areas (cities) because it that frequency signal doesn't travel very far and is easily blocked by buildings.  However you will notce the Verizon 5G coverage map shows 5G as being pretty widespread across the country.  Most of that is their Sub 6 5G Network which was launched in mid October 2020.  The 5G Sub 6 network, to my understanding, is using some of the same frequency bands as 4G so essentially it's really an amped up 4G signal using what is called Dynamic Signal Sharing (DSS) (A lot of people don't understand all this.) 

I'm curious if there's anyone on the forums with a factory unlocked version of the S20 (typically the model number I think has a U at the end instead of VZW) can confirm if their phone shows a 5G icon when you are in sub 6 5G or does it show "LTE+"  I read somewhere the unlocked phones show LTE+ because technically that is what Sub 6 band 5G using DSS really is and 5G in that case is more of a marketing term.  Because different carriers use different terms for different networks, the factory unlocked phones can connect to all the different 5G networks but they can't accomodate all the different marketing terms.  I'd also be curious if when connected to the millimeter wave 5G in the cities if these factory unlocked phones show the "UW" designation which is bascially a Verizon marketing term, or if the phone just shows "5G".

 

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Re: Does Sub 6 5G Network display 5G or LTE+ on Factory Unlocked Samsung S20 Phones?

Customer Support

We always want to see you have the best experience on our network no maytter the phone. I regret we are unable to detetrmine exactly how the unlocked phone may interact with our netowrk. I can confirm the Verizon version is Advanced LTE or LTE+ and 5G UW enabled but does not have 5G Nationwide which has similar speeds and performance to Advanced LTE.

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Re: Does Sub 6 5G Network display 5G or LTE+ on Factory Unlocked Samsung S20 Phones?

Can you elaborate on your statement "but does not have 5G Nationwide" ?  Is this because a carrier software update has not been pushed out to S20/+/ultra model phones to allow it to use sub 6 5G?  Can you confirm which, if any current model phones Verizon is selling can connect to the Nationwide (mid/low band) 5G network instead of the UW network?  If there are none or very few, then what is the point of having a coverage map that shows 5G being available in most areas?

 

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Re: Does Sub 6 5G Network display 5G or LTE+ on Factory Unlocked Samsung S20 Phones?

I have communicated with other Verizon customers in other forums with S20+ and S20 Ultra Verizon branded models and can confirm, they received System Update 7 released October 14 by version enables the 5G Nationwide Network.

The Factory Unlocked (model ending in U1) S20 phones apparently have not got the update from Samsung yet to allow sub 6 5G connection.  But there is a hack in that you can change the carrier network code to ATT even though you are on Verizon and it enabled the N5 band which is what Verizon uses for their "Nationwide 5G"  To do this you dial *#272*your IMEI number#  Then select ATT and Install and change network code only. Phone will reboot and now you will see 5G UW symbol.

I tried the CSC change on my factory unlocked S20+. I ran three successive bandwidth tests on bandwidthplace before and after the change so 3 times on VZW and 3 times on ATT. As others have alluded to the DSS Sub 6 Flavor of Verizon "5G Nationwide" is currently on average about the same speed as 4G LTE+. So I just turned it back to VZW and will wait for the update from Samsung. I'm surprised a month and a half later it still hasn't got the update to allow N5 band on Verizon.
 
I'm also wondering is the S20 always show 5G UW when connected to any 5G including sub 6 5G and not actual millimeter wave ultra wide 5G? Or is that just a side effect of "spoofing" the ATT carrier code when actually on a Verizon network IMEI? Or is it not supposed to show the UW icon when not on Ultrawide?

 

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Re: Does Sub 6 5G Network display 5G or LTE+ on Factory Unlocked Samsung S20 Phones?

Customer Support

If your device is capable of receiving 5G speeds when connected to our network, and you are in a 5G nationwide coverage area, your device will show the 5G signal. Does this make sense? CourtneyM_VZW

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Re: Does Sub 6 5G Network display 5G or LTE+ on Factory Unlocked Samsung S20 Phones?

Correct me if I'm wrong but according to Verizon "The 5G Ultra Wideband network uses the high-band, ultra-wide millimeter wave spectrum to deliver the best 5G experience available today."

However, I got my phone to show "5G UW" and I was not anywhere close to an Ultra Wideband area. So on some phones, such as the Samsung S20, does it just always show the UW symbol next to 5G no matter what type of 5G connection you have?

 

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Re: Does Sub 6 5G Network display 5G or LTE+ on Factory Unlocked Samsung S20 Phones?

Customer Support

I definitely want to clear up any confusion about 5G service, Consultant1027. Any 5G phone launched in 2020 and sold by Verizon or Verizon authorized retailers would be compatible with both 5G Nationwide and 5G UW. However, while we continue to evolve our BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) efforts, 5G phones sold outside of Verizon and Verizon authorized retailers are not guaranteed to be compatible with all functionality of our network. Beyond updating the operating system/carrier settings updates, we would not recommend making changes to your phone. You can check out coverage map here: https://www.verizon.com/coverage-map/ Does this help clarify? If you would like to troubleshoot any service concerns however, we're happy to help with that. We would need to know the nearest cross streets and zip code of your location to start. Also, if you are having service concerns, please let us know more specifics. 

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