With the launch of the 5G service in the US last year, customers were forced to avail the service only through one of the carriers. Samsung has now released all its Galaxy S20 models in an unlocked condition. As you may be aware, all the models released in the US market are 5G enabled ones. This move by Samsung means the customers will have the freedom to avail any 5G service in any part of the country by buying a SIM card of the carrier. The bundled offers from the carriers will continue to be available.
Quality of Service May Differ with the Model
Of the three models introduced, the high-end Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy S20+ users will find their phones offering excellent speeds in whichever 5G network they choose. The reason for this is that they both support mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G networks. Samsung Galaxy S20 may not be that quick though it can still function within the 5G ecosystem. It is being explained that the options for the customers are many. You could go in for a bundled phone from a carrier and later decide to unlock it and switch to another carrier of your choice.
Incidentally, these Samsung 5G devices can work with all the available 5G networks in the US. For the record, the 5G bands in the US include n2, n5, n41, n66, n71, n260, and n261. All these are supported by the Samsung Galaxy S20 series models. There is support for DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) too.
The limitations should also be mentioned here. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy S20+ cannot be carried to other countries since the 5G network there may not be supported. You will have support for 4G and even 3G depending on which country you land up in. Another point to be noted is that an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S20 cannot be subscribed to the Verizon 5G service as this particular model does not offer support for the mmWave technology.
The issue with cross-border usage of the latest devices from Samsung is that the phone being sold through the carriers is the Samsung Galaxy S20+ with model number SM-G988U fitted with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC. This device does not support bands n77 and n78. Unfortunately, these are the two bands the 5G network operates in most other countries. This is the reason your US phone won’t pick up the 5G signals there.
With time, many of these issues will get sorted out.