Why you shouldn’t expect too much from 5G on iPhone 12

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Tim Cook seems really excited about 5G. Should you be?
Tim Cook seems really excited about 5G. Should you be?
Photo: Apple

One of the biggest reasons to upgrade to iPhone 12 this year is for its 5G connectivity. It promises to be significantly faster than the 4G networks we’ve become accustomed to, making things like mobile gaming, content streaming, web browsing — basically everything you do online — better than ever.

You should be excited, but not too excited. 5G can be as spectacular as Apple led us to believe during this week’s iPhone 12 unveiling … but only if you can get good 5G coverage — and the right kind of 5G connection.

Allow us to explain what you need to know about 5G.

iPhone 12 costs extra for T-Mobile/Sprint customers [UPDATED]

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iPhone 12 pricing is lower for Verizon and AT&T customers.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini come with a “T-Mobile Tax.”
Photo: Apple

UPDATE: Apple lowered the iPhone 12 price for T-Mobile/Sprint subscribers on Friday.

 


The prices Apple promotes for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini aren’t for everyone. Subscribers to T-Mobile/Sprint must pay $30 more. The same goes for anyone who wants an unlocked unit.

This isn’t the case for the iPhone 12 Pro series.

AT&T takes 5G nationwide, greasing the skids for a super-fast iPhone

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AT&T 5G expended by 40 markets on Thursday
AT&T 5G coverage is now available for a majority of Americans.
Photo: AT&T

AT&T’s 5G network expanded to cover 395 markets in the United States on Thursday. Which is coverage for 205 million current and potential customers. That puts the telecom close to T-Mobile in 5G coverage area, and well ahead of Verizon.

So at least some US carriers will be ready for the 5G iPhone if it debuts in a few months, as expected.

Verizon or T-Mobile might be best option for your 5G iPhone

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T-Mobile 5G service
T-Mobile offers 5G in more areas than any of its rivals. But Verizon is faster.
Photo: T-Mobile

It’s not too soon to pick out the best 5G network for your 5G iPhone. And right now, there are two top contenders, according to testing dozen by an analytics firm. Verizon offers the fastest download speeds by a wide margin. And T-Mobile offers 5G in a much broader area.

But AT&T is in there swinging too.

AT&T refuses to remove misleading ‘5GE’ notification from iPhones

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No matter what your AT&T iPhone says, everyone else says “5G E” is 4G.
5G Evolution isn’t 5G, but the 5GE icon isn’t going away.
Photo: Cult of Mac/@Siddavarapu

After an arbitration panel on Wednesday called AT&T’s use of the phrase “5G Evolution” in its advertising misleading, the company agreed to stop using it. However, iPhone and Android devices connected to this telecom’s upgraded 4G LTE network will reportedly continue to display a “5GE” icon.

Misleading ‘5GE’ notification will soon disappear from AT&T iPhones [UPDATED]

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No matter what your AT&T iPhone says, everyone else says “5G E” is 4G.
AT&T agrees to stop telling customers it’s offering 5G Evolution, a type of connection rival telecoms all call 4G.
Photo: Cult of Mac/@Siddavarapu

AT&T will stop using the term 5G Evolution to describe an enhanced type of 4G. Rival T-Mobile convinced an arbitration panel on Wednesday that the description is misleading.

This apparently means iOS and Android handsets will stop informing customers that they’re connected to a 5G E network.

Update: AT&T will stop including 5G Evolution in its advertising, but will continue to put the 5GE icon on iPhones and Androids connected to its improved 4G LTE network.

US mobile data still costs way more than it should

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Global average mobile data cost seems reasonable.
Americans pay mobile data costs well above the global average.
Photo: Polina/Pexels

Americans pay far more for 4G service than much of the world, according to a report released Tuesday by a price-comparison firm. The cost for 1 gigabyte of LTE data in the United States costs almost twice the global average. And U.S. 4G service costs more than similar offerings in a whopping 187 other countries.

AT&T lays out COVID-19 relief measures; includes extra 15GB for hotspot

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Brace yourself for beautiful pictures. iPhone XS and XS Max pack the best cameras yet.
Helping you stay connected while you're stuck at home.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

AT&T on Monday laid out its COVID-19 relief measures for ensuring that customers can stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues while they’re stuck at home. Starting April 2, there will be a number of measures in place to keep subscribers connected — including 15GB of additional hotspot data.

FCC plans to hit U.S. cellphone carriers with massive fines

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Verizon
All the major carriers are about to get fined.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

America’s largest cellphone carriers are about to get hit with hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from the Federal Communications Commission according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Officials at the FCC found the companies broke the law by selling customers’ location data to third parties and are prepared to make AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint pay big time. The companies have reportedly been notified that fines could be on the way.

ViacomCBS readies new streaming service to compete with Netflix and Apple TV+

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CBS
CBS All Access was one of the first TV streaming services to launch.
Photo: CBS

Apple TV+ is about to get even more competition in the form of a new streaming service currently in development by ViacomCBS.

Now that the Viacom and CBS merger was approved at the end of 2019, a new report claims company execs are plotting a way to combine the current CBS All Access service with Viacom’s assets, among which are Paramount’s trove of over 3,600 movies.