PSA: You need one small but very important thing to access T-Mobile's standalone 5G network

 phonearena.com  09/17/2020 10:57:00 

PSA: You need one small but very important thing to access T-Mobile's standalone 5G network

It's certainly not easy to keep up with all the 5G breakthroughs, developments, upgrades and expansions pulled off in recent months and planned for the near future by the second-largest wireless service provider stateside, but even by T-Mobile's industry-leading standards, one particular advancement stood out back in early August.
While the standalone 5G connectivity is widely considered a potential long-term game changer, its current impact on speeds and latency is minimal at best. Still, if you want to be prepared for the impending upgrades enabled by this state-of-the-art technology, you'll have to make sure you can actually access the standalone architecture.

Instead, the smartest thing to do is remove your current SIM card from your phone and look for the "R15" text in pink. If you can find that, you're good to go. If not and you see the letters "TM" followed by 4 numbers, you'll need to switch to a new SIM. 

But even in this case, you may not have to contact the carrier and request a fancy new SIM card after all, as said fancy card should have come in the box of your T-Mobile 5G-capable device at the time of its original purchase or shipment. So, yeah, perhaps it's a good idea to locate that box and check to see if you forgot the SIM card inside, sticking to an old one out of negligence or laziness.

In addition to a standalone 5G-compatible SIM card, of course, you'll also need a handset that supports the technology, and although T-Mobile plans to "eventually" deliver software updates to "all 5G capable devices" in order to activate the feature, that hasn't happened yet.

Unfortunately, there's no full and official list of currently compatible smartphones, but we do know Samsung's Galaxy S20 family has received the aforementioned necessary update a little while ago, followed by the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G earlier this week.

In case you're wondering, a standalone 5G connection is fundamentally different from a non-standalone (NSA) signal, operating independently of a 4G LTE network and thus promising major speed upgrades and heavily reduced latency... at some point down the line.

Obviously, both Verizon and AT&T have plans to follow T-Mobile's suit in this crucial 5G development field in the near future, while Dish aims to build its 5G network on standalone architecture from the ground up, having no 4G LTE technology of its own to rely on for a non-standalone 5G rollout.
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