As you might have heard from our recent report, Samsung has become the latest manufacturer to support 5G network in Malaysia through the upcoming release of its new Galaxy S20 Ultra next month. However, we have noticed something odd regarding the Malaysian variant of the phone though.
Specifically, the Malaysian variant of the Galaxy S20 Ultra only able to support sub-6 5G network according to the Malaysia-specific specs sheet that we’ve received earlier this week. Even on SIRIM’s listing (as shown below), the phone was specifically categorized as a 5G 3500/3700 device.
It was quite a departure from what was written on the global specs sheet which stated that such restriction only applies to the non-Plus/Ultra model of Galaxy S20. Additionally, the 5G Exynos Modem 5123 that is paired with the Exynos 990 processor inside the Galaxy S20 Ultra does support mmWave according to Samsung’s official website.
Furthermore, during the pre-Unpacked briefing that we attended in San Francisco, the Samsung Galaxy team was quite proud of the fact that Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G are able to support multiple 5G technologies including mmWave.
Hence, it is rather odd for us to see that the Malaysian variant of Galaxy S20 Ultra is restricted to sub-6 5G network. Ultimately though, what this really mean to the potential Galaxy S20 Ultra owner in Malaysia?
Well, it is hard to say at the moment since Malaysia’s 5G spectrum bands have not even been assigned to anyone, let alone being accessible to the public. That being said though, it seems that a lot of attention has been given to the low-band and sub-6 spectrum bands since the government will be awarding these bands to a single consortium.
Given that this consortium could consists of multiple telcos that are collaborating in the name of cost savings, it is quite possible for sub-6 bands to become the main foundation of Malaysia’s 5G network. However, that doesn’t mean mmWave is out of the picture though since there are still four 400MHz blocks of 24.9GHz to 26.5GHz spectrum bands up for grabs and these bands will be made available for individual licensees rather than a single consortium.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s website has also pointed out that the 5G Exynos Modem 5123 is able to deliver downlink speed of up to 7.35Gbps through mmWave and 5.1Gbps via sub-6 5G network. Without the support for mmWave, that means the Malaysian variant of Galaxy S20 Ultra has a lower 5G peak download speed.
That being said, the support for 5G network is just one of many features within the new Galaxy S20 Ultra. So, it might not be fair to judge the phone’s potential through just one particular factor but if you somehow hell-bent on getting the fastest 5G speed possible, then the absent of mmWave support on the Malaysian variant of Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G might haunt you.