The ‘entry’ Galaxy S20 doesn’t have support for millimeter wave 5G, and it’s now clear that will be a pain for some would-be early adopters. Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) quietly mentioned in its press release for Samsung’s phones that the base S20 won’t be available until the second quarter of the year, when a model with support for Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network will arrive. Verizon didn’t have more to add in a response to Engadget (we’ve asked Samsung for comment), but the frequency support appears to be the only major functional difference. It’ll still start at the $1,000 mark like at other carriers.
The S20+ and S20 Ultra already support Verizon’s 5G and will be available on March 6th, the same day as they arrive at other providers.
Verizon doesn’t have much choice. While it does plan to introduce 5G on lower frequencies, that won’t happen until later in 2020. The company wasn’t about to sell a 5G phone that couldn’t use the newer wireless technology for months. Still, this will have mixed consequences for Big Red subscribers. This could give Verizon’s standard S20 faster wireless data than equivalents at rival networks, but you’ll likely have to wait months for that option — and it’s not clear how UWB will affect the smallest S20’s battery life.