The question remains if this will still be the case on future releases, but the devices scheduled for 2020 will offer consumers connectivity to multiple bands within 5G networks.
iPhone fanatics rejoice, 2020 is finally the year that the most iconic smartphone in history links up with 5G networks across America and rumor has it that the phones will connect to both sub-6GHz and mmWave bands. To learn more about the various bands of 5G connectivity, check out our previous article here, but the TLDR version is: low-bands are great for distance but not speed, high-bands (mmWave) are great for speed but not distance. Many carriers plan to unleash multiple bands as they will work together in harmony to create a seamless experience, however, with the race to appease customers on and companies such as T-Mobile establishing the first nationwide 5G network, it will be a while before everyone is experiencing the best 5G has to offer as low-band seems to be taking priority.
Consumers can expect to see mmWave in dense urban cities where many towers will be available to transmit the signal to a multitude of devices; whereas, suburban and urban areas with less density will experience more sub-6GHz spectrum bands. Though there is some concern that Apple may only allow connectivity to one of the other with its device offerings in 2021. Industry sources in Taiwan mentioned that “Apple’s 2020 series of iPhones will work on both sub-6GHz and millimeter wave 5G networks, and the vendor is considering introducing its iPhones supporting either mmWave or sub-6GHz for specific markets next year.”
The move comes as a way for Apple to decide which devices best fit the market due to the availability or lack of availability to specific band types within the said market. Marketplaces with mmWave would receive devices equipped to connect to that band of 5G and sub-6GHz markets would receive similar treatment for their connectivity. The elimination of mmWave connectivity in phones that may not ever use it will also help reduce costs for the company.
These decisions will vary country by country and with this comes further complications. Even the 2020 iPhones may see their mmWave capabilities disabled to save on modem costs. Still, there are a lot of rumors, so, waiting to see what unfolds throughout the next couple of months will help shine some light on the situation moving forward.
Like this article? Get tons more 5G related content delivered directly to your inbox by subscribing to the 5G Insider newsletter.