Samsung's flagship 5G smartphone, the Galaxy S10 5G, is definitely capable of blazing fast mobile internet speeds, as seen by tests on Verizon's network in Chicago and AT&T's network on the Warner Brother's studio lot at that company's SHAPE conference. And, starting Friday, you can get one on T-Mobile's 5G network that launches that day.
T-Mobile has made a big deal of having a larger 5G footprint than it's larger competitors, but in reality, coverage is still highly limited, even in the cities getting the initial rollout. Still, the company is touting the Galaxy S10 5G as the future of fast mobile internet.
Still, you probably shouldn't buy one. Here's why:
First, unless you live in one of the half-dozen or so cities that have 5G coverage from one of the three major networks, you're spending a whole lot of money on a phone that can't take advantage of 5G speeds anyway.
Unfortunately, it seems that's basically the case even if you do live in one of those cities. Early speed tests show some pretty amazing results, but only under the best of circumstances.
Here's the thing; 5G is a term that covers a range of different technologies, from low-band, sub-6 GHz, up to the millimeter-wave technology (mmWave) technology currently rolled out in select cities. Only the mmWave 5G is capable of the truly mind-blowing 1GB per second and faster download speeds.
But most people will never experience the fastest coverage because mmWave 5G only works within a short range of the cell-site, and is unable to penetrate most walls or other solid materials. That means it will only ever be rolled out in highly-populated urban areas. Even then, it'll likely only work outdoors in most cases.
For the rest of us, sub-6 GHz 5G is probably the best we'll ever get since it uses the same spectrum that powers existing 4G networks across most of the country.
That wouldn't be a problem, but it leads us to the second reason you shouldn't buy one: the Galaxy S10 5G won't use the lower-band form of 5G that most of us will get. It only uses mmWave networks.
That's pretty disappointing for a $1400 phone that, for most people, will only be capable of 4G speeds.
There's really no question that 5G is coming, but so far hasn't shown that it's ready for mainstream adoption. It's also clear that even as it is adopted, customers are likely to be confused by the fact that not all 5G is created equal. In fact, the vast majority of 5G networks being rolled out across the country won't see the speeds that many people have come to associate with the term.
It's easy to be tempted by the latest new gadget or technology, but the question you have to ask is whether it actually adds a real benefit to your business. Even if it does, is that benefit actually worth the cost?