Despite being the third largest carrier in the US, T-Mobile has managed to get a head start on rivals, launching their next generation 5G network in more places around the US than any other carrier. In fact, there’s a good chance that T-Mobile’s 5G is signal is already available where you live — you’ll just need a phone to take advantage of it.
In this post we’ll dive into more detail about T-Mobile’s 5G network, while showing you the best T-Mobile 5G phones that are currently available for the carrier. When all is said and done, you should know exactly what you need to look for when buying a 5G phone on T-Mobile.
T-Mobile 5G vs 4G LTE
It’s been 7 years since T-Mobile first launched their 4G network back in 2013. Since then, they’ve managed to cover nearly 99% of Americans with 4G LTE. With all the buzz surrounding 5G, the next evolution of mobile data, you might be wondering how 5G compares to 4G, and whether or not it’s even worth it.
Similar to the jump from 3G to 4G, 5G delivers faster data speeds, improved network reliability, and has a greater capacity to handle more connected devices without straining the network. How you use T-Mobile’s fifth generation network is up to you, whether it’s streaming HD videos with no buffering, playing online video games with no lag, crystal clear group video calls, or sending/receiving large file sises. Simply put, 5G is fully capable to handle all your wireless needs better, faster, and more efficiently than 4G ever could.
T-Mobile 5G: 600MHz vs mmWave
Now that you know the difference between 5G and 4G, it’s time to delve a little deeper into T-Mobile’s 5G network and what that entails. When it comes to 5G, there are three types you can expect to see depending on the wireless network in question.
- High-band (mmWave): Best suited for cities and urban areas. Shorter waves means much higher data speeds, although high-band frequencies deliver poor building penetration and thus, only offer limited coverage.
- Mid-band (TBA): Mid-length waves equates to a mix of higher speeds, overall range, and coverage.
- Low-band (600MHz): Best suited for suburban or rural areas, low-band networks are not affected by obstacles such as buildings and the long waves provide much greater nationwide coverage.
Currently, T-Mobile 5G comes in two very different varieties: 600MHz (low-band) and mmWave (high-band). While their 600MHz spectrum may not offer the insanely high data speeds as their mmWave network, it’s also not as limited in coverage and still offers improved speeds over T-Mobile’s current 4G network.
With T-Mobile laying the groundwork for their 5G network using 600MHz spectrum, they’ve got a good head start over the competition and can bring 5G to more people all over the US (providing their customers have the necessary hardware to take advantage of it). This is important information to know when it comes time to buy either an unlocked or T-Mobile 5G phone as mmWave support may not be as high a priority, if at all.
Where is T-Mobile 5G available?
T-Mobile’s 600MHz 5G network already covers 200 million people across 5,000 cities in the US. Since going live last year, T-Mobile’s low-band 5G already spans one million square miles, with much of that including rural America. It’s their low-band 5G network that T-Mobile is really marketing right now and the one most customers should care about.
Keep in mind that it’s T-Mobile 5G is still in its infancy, so you can expect to see some gaps in coverage depending on where you live. So before you rush out and buy a T-Mobile 5G phone, you’ll want to check T-Mobile’s 5G coverage map to see if it’s available in your area. Using the T-Mobile coverage map, you will be able to check for coverage based on your city, state or zip code. For more on T-Mobile 5G progress, check out our blog post T-Mobile 5G availability and updates.
Best 5G phones for T-Mobile
When it first launched, support for the T-Mobile’s 600MHz (low-band) 5G network included only two phones: the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. Recently, the number of T-Mobile’s 5G phones has more than doubled thanks to the release of the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G, S20+ 5G and S20 Ultra 5G. As of October 2020, Apple officially threw their hat in the ring with the release of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro.
As for phones supporting T-Mobile’s mmWave 5G network, joining the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is now the Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. These phones include support for 5G on the 28GHz and 39GHz bands which allow for true 5G speeds in “pockets of select cities.” The only problem is with such limited high-band coverage, mmWave isn’t really a viable option for most people.
It’s also worth noting that while the Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra support both flavors of 5G (low-band and mmWave), the Galaxy S10 5G only supports mmWave 5G. With such limited mmWave 5G deployment, it’s probably worth avoiding this model unless you come across a crazy good deal.
Apple iPhone 12
The iPhone 12 was officially released on October 23, and marks the 14th generation of Apple’s celebrated iPhone line. A followup to the previous generation iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 adds a handful of upgrades — the biggest being a new design, OLED display panel, MagSafe charging, and the addition of 5G.
The iPhone 12 supports all flavors of 5G (low-band, mid-band, and high frequency ultra-wide band), making the phone future proof for years to come. As T-Mobile continues to roll out their 5G network (low band) across the US, you can rest assured that whenever T-Mobile 5G arrives in your city (if it isn’t available already), your iPhone 12 will be ready for it.
Prices for a new iPhone 12 start at $799 (64GB), but if you want the best deal, you’ll want to wait for gently used models to start showing up on Swappa. By the time you read this, there’s a good chance there will already be a few available in the marketplace, so head on over to find the best iPhone 12 deals.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
The iPhone 12 Pro takes everything people love about the 12 — new design, OLED displays, MagSafe charging, and 5G — but ups the ante with more RAM, a telephoto camera, and brighter screen. Other features include a LiDAR Scanner that enables Night mode portraits and faster autofocus in low light conditions, and improved AR. The iPhone 12 Pro also adds support for the Apple ProRAW image format, which is great for photo editing. Other than that, it’s very similar to the iPhone 12, in fact, they have the exact same dimensions with cases that fit both.
Prices for the iPhone 12 Pro start at $999 — a full $200 more than the regular iPhone 12 — but you should be able to save some money once used models begin making their way to Swappa. To start shopping iPhone 12 Pro deals, use the Swappa widget below to see how much you can save.
Google Pixel 5
Like most major phone manufacturers in 2020, Google finally entered into the 5G race with the release of the Pixel 5 in September. It’s a followup to the previous year’s Google Pixel 4, and adds a handful of improvements while including arguably the most future-proof feature of all: 5G. The Pixel 5 offers support for both millimeter-wave 5G (high band) and sub-6GHz 5G (low band), making it fully compatible with 5G from all US carriers.
Retailing at $699, the Pixel 5 is the highest end phone Google currently offers, with features that include a 6-inch FHD+ display, Snapdragon 765G processor, 8GB of RAM, regular and wide-angle cameras, wireless charging, water resistance, and a silky smooth 90Hz display. Really, if you can do without the more premium build, wireless charging, water resistance, and the 90Hz display — you could save $200 by going with the Pixel 4a 5G.
Google Pixel 4a 5G
The Pixel 4a 5G is a followup to the Pixel 4a that launched back in August, but if you think the only differences between the two phones is the addition of 5G — you’d be dead wrong. The Pixel 4a 5G is an entirely different phone, featuring a larger 6.2-inch display, faster Snapdragon 765G processor, a bonus ultra-wide camera, and larger 3,885 mAh battery. Oh yeah, and there’s also full compatibility with all 5G networks in the US.
When compared against the more “premium” Pixel 5, the Pixel 4a 5G is missing wireless charging, less RAM, water resistance, and a 90Hz display, but it does have something that Pixel 5 doesn’t — a 3.5mm headphone jack. Along with an even larger display, the lower entry price is another big plus.
Priced at $499, the Pixel 4a 5G is a full $200 cheaper than the Pixel 5, making it a better deal considering you get mostly the same performance, in a phone that offers 90% of the features as its higher-end sibling. If you’re looking for an even better deal on the Pixel 4a 5G, you can find gently used devices at a nice discount. Keep checking back, or subscribe for alerts to be notified when new models arrive in the marketplace.
Samsung Galaxy S20 5G
The Samsung Galaxy S20 was officially released on March 6th, 2020 on T-Mobile. Although we’ve seen special “5G” variants of other handsets (like last year’s Galaxy S10 5G), Samsung’s entire Galaxy S20 lineup supports 5G in some capacity, right out of the box. That means you don’t have to worry about looking for a special 5G variant of the S20, something that will make things much easier on consumers looking for the best wireless connectivity.
It’s worth noting that Galaxy S20 (regular sized model), the phone only offers support for T-Mobile’s nationwide sub-6 5G. The alternative is mmWave 5G — which the T-Mobile S20 does not support — and although data speeds are much faster, coverage is extremely limited (think outdoor city blocks or sports arenas).
As T-Mobile’s 5G (low-band) continues its nationwide rollout, the Galaxy S20 5G will satisfy the needs of most customers and is a great pick for anyone looking to prepare for the next generation of wireless technology. The price for a new Galaxy S20 5G at T-Mobile is $999 (128GB), but you’ll get the best deal when shopping for gently used models on Swappa. Prices for a used Galaxy S20 5G start at $700 on Swappa, so start saving by hitting the button below.
Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G
Also launching alongside the regular Galaxy S20 5G was the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G. Just like we’ve seen in previous years, the “plus” in the name simply refers to a larger 6.7-inch screen and, as a result, higher capacity 4,500mAh battery to power it. Other upgrades include the Samsung’s DepthVision camera, and an additional 512GB storage option for people who need more elbow room for the media. But that’s not all…
Unlike the regular S20, the Galaxy S20+ has the ability to connect to both T-Mobile’s low-band 5G, and their mmWave 5G networks. Although T-Mobile’s mmWave 5G availability is low at present, it’s a nice perk when and where it finally becomes available. With full 5G connectivity, the Galaxy S20+ is the best choice for those planning for the future.
You can find the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G currently retailing for $1,199 at T-Mobile, but you’ll get a much bigger discount on Swappa where a T-Mobile Galaxy S20+ 5G starts at $900. Those are some pretty hefty savings. But you’d better hurry, listings don’t last forever. Start shopping Galaxy S20+ deals using the button below.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
If the Galaxy S20 is “regular-sized” model and the Galaxy S20+ is “large,” then the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G could be seen as the “XL” model in the lineup. The thing is, it’s more than that. Yes, compared to the S20+, the Galaxy S20 Ultra has an even larger 6.9-inch display and higher capacity 5,000mAh battery, but it also represents the most premium hardware Samsung offers. With up to 45W fast charging (vs 25W in the smaller models), 16GB RAM option, upgraded 108MP primary camera with 48MP telephoto lens, and a 40MP front facing camera — you’d be hard-pressed to find a phone that looks better on paper.
Like the Galaxy S20+, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is also compatible with both T-Mobile’s low-band and mmWave 5G networks. The hardest pill to swallow is the price, with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G retailing for $1,399 (128GB) on T-Mobile. That’s $200 more than the Galaxy S20+, and $400 more than the Galaxy S20.
Of course, with us in your corner, you can find T-Mobile Galaxy S20 Ultra prices starting at $1,055 on Swappa. That’s a substantial discount over the new retail price, but you’ll want to act quick before someone jumps on your deal. Hit the button below to start shopping today.
OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren
The OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren is exclusive to T-Mobile and currently priced at $899.99 for a brand new model. It’s the most expensive phone OnePlus offers, and one of the few devices on the market that’s compatible with 5G. The T-Mobile OnePlus 7T Pro 5G features a 6.67-inch 90Hz display, Snapdragon 855+ processor, 48MP camera, motorized pop-up selfie camera (16MP), 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 4,085mAh battery.
Although a bit pricey, you can already find used OnePlus 7T Pro 5G models on Swappa starting at $720. Whether you want it shipped to your door, or you’re looking for local pickup, Swappa is the best way to find the lowest prices on OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
Not to be confused with the standard Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (which also available for T-Mobile), the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G is the only variant of the Note 10 that’s compatible with T-Mobile’s new low-band 5G network. Unlike the AT&T model, the T-Mobile Galaxy Note 10+ 5G features only a single storage option (256GB) priced at $1,299.99. With a phone that expensive, you’ll probably want to find the lowest price possible.
Luckily the Swappa marketplace is a great place to find the best deals on T-Mobile 5G phones. It’s on Swappa you can find a gently used T-Mobile Galaxy Note 10+ 5G starting at $925, helping you save hundreds of dollars over the carrier’s brand new retail price. But don’t just take our word for it, hit the button below to see for yourself just how much you can save.
T-Mobile 5G Phone Plans
When it comes to other 5G phones on T-Mobile, you’ll want to make sure to keep an eye out for “5G” somewhere in the name as more devices become available. We’ll be continually updating this list, so you can expect to find more T-Mobile 5G phones as we head deeper into 2020.
It’s also worth noting that unlike AT&T, T-Mobile does not charge extra for 5G and it’s included on all their current unlimited data plans. Only thing you’ll need is a compatible 5G phone. To shop and compare all T-Mobile phone plans and find the right one for you or your family, hit the button below to get started.