When will T-Mobile or AT&T get the Note 10+ 5G? Verizon's exclusivity shows how Apple lucked out

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
When will T-Mobile or AT&T get the Note 10+ 5G? Verizon's exclusivity shows how Apple lucked out
Look no further than the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G for a clear demonstration how 5G is fragmenting American carrier networks, again. If you are wondering why Samsung made it Verizon-exclusive, while T-Mobile and AT&T showed nebulous intent to have their own version by year's end, it's because everyone is going their own 5G direction. 

The Note 10+ 5G is the living proof why everything with 5G in the US is so complicated right now and why Apple actually scored with its inability to issue a 5G iPhone this year.

You're holding the Note wrong!

Samsung must have been in a pickle. First off, neither its Exynos 5100, nor Huawei's Balong 5000 modems support Verizon's millimeter wave (mmWave) network. The only 5G modems that do are Qualcomm's current finest, the X50, and the upcoming X55. That only left Qualcomm in the mix for Samsung. The X50, however, can't be integrated into the Snapdragon 855 chipset, like the X24 LTE modem, but has to be tacked on separately.

Not only do such separate 5G modems need extra space, RAM and battery power to function in a phone, but the Qualcomm ones may also bring a "You're holding it wrong" moment. Why? Well, the US carriers' current mmWave 5G networks require a complex new antenna design that was behind some delays in the launch of the S10 5G or the LG V50 5G.

When unveiling the X55, Qualcomm touted a slimmer than usual QTM525 antenna module. That's because millimeter wave signals can't even pass through your hand, so several antennas have to be strategically placed around the edges of the phone to ensure fairly robust 5G connectivity. Despite all of these complications, Samsung still went with Qualcomm's X50 modem as it basically had no other choice. Why Verizon, though?

Why Verizon for the Note 10+ 5G?

At first blush, Samsung picking Verizon for the Note 10+ 5G cameo is not a big surprise. After all, it is America's largest carrier by coverage and subscriber numbers, and just boasted the highest network scores in 10 years in the P3 Mobile Benchmark USA report:

There are more things at play in Samsung's choice of Verizon's controversial 5G efforts than network quality, though, and to understand its reasoning fully, we must delve into how the 5G networks of each major US carrier differ from each other at the moment.

Verizon vs T-Mobile vs AT&T vs Sprint 5G networks

We won't bore you with what carrier has amassed what 5G spectrum at the FCC auctions or by purchasing smaller operators, as we already have a primer on US carrier 5G bands. What's more important to differentiate is how the low-, mid- and high-bands differ when it comes to 5G.

In a nutshell, millimeter wave networks like the current ones from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, offer the fastest speeds and thus marketing bombast at their initial rollout that could impress users the most. Just look at these download speeds with a Note 10+ 5G on Verizon's high-band network.

On the other hand, mmWave spectrum has very low penetration rates. So low, in fact, that the signal can get easily dispersed by the phone's glass body, and it has trouble getting through your hands holding the phone, let alone trees, buildings, and even windows. T-Mobile was quick to point the difference between its 600 MHz Extended Range LTE spectrum and Verizon's initial mmWave 5G rollout in a typical trolling fashion.

The fact that Verizon is offering a BOGO deal on a Note 10 when you get the Note 10+ 5G comes to show that it has enticed Samsung to offer it exclusivity with more than its position as America's largest carrier, and more than its LTE network coverage. After all, its 5G base stations barely cover a few blocks in any given city, and the combined T-Mobile/AT&T subscriber base is larger. 

Verizon, however, has been the one that most aggressively marketed its 5G rollout. It shouted "first!" with a commercial connection on a 5G phone a day before South Korea was scheduled to turn on its nationwide coverage, even though the connection basically happened over one lamp post in downtown Chicago with a 5G Moto Mod tacked on. 

Knowing full well that it won't have much to show in the sub-6GHz field until next year, and that if the T-Mobile merger with Sprint goes through, it will score a trifecta of 5G bands for the resulting carrier, Verizon is trying to leverage what it has now to the fullest. That would explain the quick adoption of all 5G phones in the US under the sun, their generous subsidies, and the new 5G data plans that give the next-gen connectivity away for a limited time. 

When are T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T getting the Note 10+ 5G?

Verizon's Note 10+ 5G exclusivity won't hold long, but it will be enough for Big Red to shout another "first!" on something 5G-related, and scoop up the early adopters. While that may very well be the goal, AT&T already said it will be getting the phone by year's end:

Needless to say, T-Mobile was much more eloquent on the matter, and didn't miss the opportunity to take jabs at Verizon's 5G marketing push, all the while pointing out that T-Mobile has saved the best for last when it comes to the new Note:

As for Sprint, which is currently awaiting with bated breath the final decision on its merger with T-Mobile, it simply stated humbly that it will "launch Galaxy Note10+ 5G at a later date for customers looking to connect to its next-generation True Mobile 5G network. Pricing and timing will be shared closer to launch."

(Un)intended consequences

The latest Note 10+ 5G follows the familiar path we've seen with all 5G phones so far. They are present on one or two carriers but not on all of them at once. They work with mmWave and sub-6GHz somehow, but full support is coming later on. In fact, before Qualcomm's X55 modem hits devices later this year or the beginning of the next, we can't hope for a universal 5G phone model that can be quickly fine-tuned by its manufacturer for a specific carrier like they do with current 4G LTE handsets. 

Until then, the Note 10+ 5G's Verizon exclusivity would be the norm, not the exception. It won't be before the second half of 2020 when we see modems that support all of the 5G spectrum be integrated into chipsets like the Snapdragon 865, or whatever the Exynos and Kirin departments are cooking for next year. There is one more major mobile chipset maker out there that lucked out on 5G, though - Apple. 

By lucked out we mean Apple's unwillingness or inability to solve its patent issues with Qualcomm sooner that deprived the 2019 iPhone 11 of 5G connectivity. Looking at the fragmented state of the next-gen networks in the US, and what is happening with the Note 10+ 5G availability, Apple might have been all the better to wait for next fall to introduce a 5G-enabled iPhone. That, plus the fact that the Note 10+ 5G starts off at $1300, and we shudder to think what an iPhone with mmWave modem would have cost had it been released next month.

Related phones

Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
  • Display 6.8" 1440 x 3040 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4300 mAh



1. LiveFaith

Posts: 493; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

I'm not sure if I could even tell my phone has 5G. If someone snuck it into my Note I'm not sure I would care. Certainly their are data intensive apps somewhere, where it shows up. Of course, it would take a billionaire to afford the cost of the data on VZW. 5G is really not creating a lot of real desire IMO. 4G and especially 3G & 2G were game changers when they rolled out.

5. ECPirate37

Posts: 347; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

I 100% agree with you. I've been saying 5G is pointless. None of the things they are promising have given me any reason to be excited. I don't download movies to my phone (what they keep mentioning) but if I did, I would just use my wifi anyway since it can do the same.

17. Cliffy4469

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 24, 2017

Live Faith - Does being brain-dead hurt? You were joking, when you referenced to someone sneaking into your Note - Right?

2. Johnabis

Posts: 66; Member since: Feb 17, 2011

the Tmobile note 10+ 5g will have the x55. but from what I understand it won't support mmwave. I also thought the x55 was supposed to be a universal 5G modem. Any idea why it won't support mmwave?

13. oldskool50 unregistered

Did you read the article? The article stated Samsung's own modem does not support the mmWave tech, but Qualcomm modem does. As one comedian said " reading is fun-to-mental" as in fundamental. Quote from the article states: "Samsung must have been in a pickle. First off, neither its Exynos 5100, nor Huawei's Balong 5000 modems support Verizon's millimeter wave (mmWave) network. The only 5G modems that do are Qualcomm's current finest, the X50, and the upcoming X55."

3. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2276; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

This Note 10+ is most exciting phone of 2019, even over the anticipated 2019 iPhone 11 Pro Max (whatever it will be called).

4. ECPirate37

Posts: 347; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

I disagree, I believe the Huawei Mate 30Pro will be the most exciting phone of 2019, or the Huawei Mate X foldable. I've ordered the Note 10+, but will buy the new Huawei's as well and I'm way more excited for my new Huawei.

14. oldskool50 unregistered

Seriously? Without the US market for sales? You must be kidding. The Note 10 will be available in more countries than the Huawei device. So I just don't see how you think what you claim will be true. The chances of the Huawei being the 2019 phone of the year vs the Note, would be trying to find a floating man in space without communications.

18. Cliffy4469

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 24, 2017

ECPirate37's comment demands a need for a thumbs down voting option.

16. Brewski

Posts: 730; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

Please......, ROG Phone II FTW!

6. Matte_Black13

Posts: 27; Member since: Oct 12, 2018

Lol. I could care less about 5G at this point. Everyone but Apple is frankly "jumping the gun" because it's still only half-baked. Once they start integrating the 5G modems into the SOC, and they aren't carrier locked, and 5G is actually available in countries (excluding S.Korea since they seem to be more on top of this) in a small percentage geographically of the country, then it might matter. U.S. is at least 2-3 years (probably more like 5-10) from this being an issue that actually matters.

15. oldskool50 unregistered

The best thing about 5G right now is simple. For one, in the US, Verizon is the only carrier who has it available in more markets. Since the Note 5G is the only phone that will support it, that means the 5G spectrum won't be bogged down with millions of users. That means when you are able to use it, you are gonna get the best available speed with no degradation. It's like being in the express lane that is wide open, even if there are other cars on the road.

7. Allison28

Posts: 19; Member since: May 04, 2013

5g is pretty irrelevant at the moment. In its infancy in several forms, it's not worth worrying about in the present, but just for planning the future, if they ever perfect or universalize it.

8. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Whats the big deal with 5G right now? I see a possible benefit for home internet but a phone? What am I missing before i jump on the hype train?

9. scyence

Posts: 9; Member since: Mar 06, 2015

Not gonna even consider a 5G phone until 1. it's an actual nationwide thing amongt all carriers and 2. there's an unlocked phone model that supports all of those bands.

10. jsdechavez

Posts: 816; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

This is probably a measure perhaps agreed upon or not by these carriers to deter subscribers from switching networks too soon, too often.

11. bacano

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 24, 2019

So should I buy the note 10+ or the note 10+ 5G or the S10+ 5G? Any content submitted to PhoneArena, becomes the sole property of PhoneArena and cannot be used in parts or in whole without PhoneArena’s consent. All such content expresses the views and opinions of their authors and PhoneArena will not be held responsible for any offensive or racist materials posted.

12. oldskool50 unregistered

Just sound like a bogus attempt of the writer to try to cut Apple some slack. Basically Apple could have did the same. Simply released a 5G model on VZW as well. Apple basically screwed themselves specifically for trying to be dirty and it bit them in the butt. All this BS glosssing isn't gonna change the facts. I read the full court document and basically Apple went full on to try to screw Qualcomm and they screwed themselves. Whether 5G is mainstream or not, Samsung owns the bragging rights for having a 5G test phone available for the largest network in the US. It's just that simple. If Apple had did it first, and Samsung was in the exact same position, you wouldn't be glossing words for Samsung. It would have simply been another hate piece. The bias on this site is really sad. Apple put themselves in a pinch. If I was the CEO of QC and Apple came crawling back, I would have not sold them anything and let them suffer for the next 3 years and make them be behind, which basically means QC would have sold more hardware to Samsung who would have simply sold more phones. Samsung knows how to make phones. I have never had any connection issues of any kind on any of their phones regardless of how I held them.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless