Galaxy S20 UltraSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

What you need to know

  • T-Mobile customers with a Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra are getting better speeds in New York.
  • The goal is to deliver high speeds in dense areas and maintain coverage in suburban areas.
  • The "layer cake" includes T-Mobile's low-band and mmWave 5G surrounding Sprint's mid-band.

T-Mobile's President of Technology, Neville Ray annoucned on Twitter that on May, 5 2020, T-Mobile enabled access to its full, three-layer 5G network in New York. This network leverages T-Mobile's existing 5G networks built on 600MHz low-band spectrum and its high-band 5G network called mmWave. It added a third layer in the middle at 2.5GHz with better speed than the low-band network and better coverage than the mmWave network for customers with one of the two bigger variants of Samsung's Galaxy S20 series.

On April 1, 2020, T-Mobile completed its purchase of Sprint including its vast 2.5GHz spectrum. Sprint has already proven the viability of its 5G network built at this frequency with LTE-like coverage in several cities with consistently higher performance than LTE. Compared to the extremely fast high-frequency mmWave, speeds are down but can still deliver higher speeds and more capacity than T-Mobile's low-band 600MHz nationwide 5G network.

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With signal range sitting between mmWave and low-band, this 2.5GHz spectrum is perfect for adding capacity and speed to the 5G network.

To take advantage of this layer cake network, T-Mobile customers will need either the Galaxy S20+ or the Galaxy S20 Ultra from Samsung. The smaller Galaxy S20 is not included due to a lack of mmWave antennas. T-Mobile announced that it was bringing its 2.5GHz 5G to New York in a news post on April 21 as well as giving Sprint Galaxy S20 owners access to its 600MHz 5G.