AT&T plugging holes in its G5 network by placing winning bids on "mid-range" bandwidth. These frequencies allow faster-than-4G speed, but now they seem to have pulled a fast one. After confirming multiple times about phones that will support their 3.45 GHz spectrum, they've now come out and said JKLOL MY BAD! Only brand new phones will get it. Womp womp. Kevin Purdy at Ars Technica has more.
The carrier told CNET on August 23 that it would release a software update that would allow phones like the iPhone 12 and 13, the Pixel 6, Galaxy S21 models, and low-cost Motorola phones to utilize the 3.45 GHz C-band AT&T purchased for roughly $9.1 billion in early 2022. Combined with the low-band access AT&T already offered, this would give its 5G phones access to both wider coverage and faster average speeds.
An AT&T spokesperson said in response to this story that "only 2022 and newer devices can be certified by the FCC to use 3.45 GHz." Statements regarding upgrading of older 5G phones were "provided by mistake and then incorrectly confirmed."Ars Technica
I will be the first to say that 5G is overblown, overhyped, and delivers on a fraction of the "promises" made by cell carriers in the past few years. 5G is simply nowhere we're led to believe. Yet. Millimeter wave 5G is blazing fast, but can't penetrate walls or windows. So unless you're in a stadium with transmitters inside, it is useless.
In this fight of companies to have the best 5G network, T-Mobile has been the clear leader. It is mainly because they focused on "mid-range" 5G that the others are doing now. Personally, it's nice to have slightly better speeds, but it uses a lot more battery and gives nearly no added benefit in most situations. In fact, turning 5G off has benefits and is even a troubleshooting step for carriers.
Right now we are in a phase where if you're upgrading your phone, get one that supports 5G. I'd imagine most do these days. But, don't buy a new phone because of 5G. In fact, turning 5G off may have more benefits than keeping it on.