Galaxy S20 International Models Explained: Which Works For You?

PC Magazine|April 2020

Galaxy S20 International Models Explained: Which Works For You?
The Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup will be the first set of unlocked phones that work on the 5G networks of all major US carriers. Even if you don’t buy your phone unlocked, only one hardware version of the S20+ and S20 Ultra will be sold in the US, although your phone will come loaded with carrier firmware.
SASCHA SEGAN

That means if you buy an unlocked S20+ or S20 Ultra, you can insert any SIM and get your carrier of choice’s fastest 5G speeds. And if you buy one from your carrier and decide later to unlock it and switch carriers, you’ll be able to use the phone on your new carrier.

But that doesn’t mean you can import a US model abroad. There are six global models, each with different 4G and 5G capabilities. If you’re outside the US, a US model may not work on your country’s 5G networks.

UNIVERSAL FOR THE US ... BUT ONLY THE US

Until now, 5G phones have been sold by carriers and haven’t included all of the 5G approaches used by even their own carriers, much less others. But the S20+ and S20 Ultra have all the bands and approaches that all US carriers intend to use this year, and Samsung confirmed that it can be switched between carriers.

That includes 5G bands n2, n5, n41, n66, n71, n260, and n261, with DSS, along with all of the previous 4G, 3G, and 2G systems used in the US at the moment, both CDMA and GSM. One phone to rule them all.

Looking forward, the S20+ and S20 Ultra will support improved performance through better carrier aggregation coming later this year, AT&T tells me, although the crystal ball is cloudy as to whether the phone will support networks’ transition to standalone mode starting later this year.

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April 2020