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Thread: 5G access by plan?

  1. #1
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    5G access by plan?

    I currently have an old 3 GB mobile share plan which I share 3GB with my wife. I have a iPhone 12 I recently got and my wife has an iPhone 11.

    Working primarily from home for the last year plus that’s been more than enough. But I may go back to the office at least part time at some point so I was checking what other plan options may be available.

    Lo-and-behold, in addition to the unlimited plans which are far more $$$ and I don’t need, I see a “4GB” plan which says it provides 4 GB PER DEVICE. And it’s actually slightly cheaper than my current plan (by less than $1).

    When I played around with the process to change plans though I get a note that my new plan would not include 5G access.

    1) Can the billing plan really impact my connection speed?
    2) Does my old Mobile Share plan include it? It existed before 5G did? How can I check if I’m really getting it or not on my 12? I DO see it saying “5G” in the top right, but how do I know if I really get those speeds?

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    That phone doesn't support 5G so you cannot access that newer network. 4G (LTE/VOLTE) will work without problems. The iPhone 13 is supposed to have 5G. At&t displays 5Ge but it is not true 5G, it is 4.5G instead. Sadly, without a 5G phone in a covered area there is no way to get 5G access/data speeds.
    Just another day in paradise.....

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    iPhone 12 does support 5g just to be clear.


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    Alex
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    My iPhone 12 does have 5G.

    I think I’d be willing to sacrifice that to more than double my data for slightly less money. But I’d like to know whether I really am sacrificing it before I make a decision.

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    It seems I am mistaken about the iPhone 12. I thought only the pending iPhone 13 had that feature. I don't think the iPhone 11 has that option.

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    The iPhone 12 has arguably half-baked support for 5G because it supports neither VoNR (officially) nor aggregation of multiple types of 5G (FDD, TDD sub-7 GHz, and mmWave). The X60 officially supports VoNR and can aggregate all types of 5G with each other, which will greatly improve the effective range of both mmWave and C-Band by allowing them to aggregate with lowband 5G for uplink.

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    Regardless of exactly what it supports, how do I know if I’m getting it on my current plan? Is there a way I can test or setting to check on the iPhone to see if I’m actually connected via 5G or not?

    Or does anyone know whether the plan would really impact my connection speed?

  8. #8
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    The easiest method is to download an application to test your data connection speed. Prior to 5G, my phone averaged 10 or less Mbs but now I achieve up to 100 Mbs when on 5G.
    Last edited by Serial Port; 08-05-2021 at 05:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaOne81 View Post
    Regardless of exactly what it supports, how do I know if I’m getting it on my current plan? Is there a way I can test or setting to check on the iPhone to see if I’m actually connected via 5G or not?

    Or does anyone know whether the plan would really impact my connection speed?
    At&t has been adding older plans to 5G access. If it states you will not have 5G access on that newer plan, then you likely won't, unless they add it in the future.

    Have you looked into the unlimited starter plan? May not be much more at the end of the day.

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    5G icon does not always mean faster speed. 5G+ icon is mmWave and is way faster but it has been very slowly deployed.

    If you have a 5G icon, you’re on 5G nationwide, which means you’re sharing bandwidth with LTE and your speeds will generally be more or less the same but latency should be better.

    AT&T has indeed been fencing off their 5G in some plans. For example prepaid only gets it on the highest Unlimited Plus plan. I suspect that AT&T will eventually give everyone access to 5G nationwide but keep mmWave for the higher tier plans. 5G icons move phones because the carriers have sold everyone on 5G = fast even if that’s not really the reality right now.


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    AT&T seems to be of the mindset that you have to have an unlimited plan to get 5G, so that 4GB plan is going to be just like your grandfathered one and only connect with LTE (maybe with a 5GE indicator). If it makes financial sense, you may want to switch to it just to get the extra data and the per-line allotment. Fortunately, both of your phones should perform well on LTE if AT&T has their full variety of LTE bands, low/no congestion, and decent backhaul in your area (not uncommon to hit multi-hundred Mbps speeds on LTE in some environments).

    As for 5G, if you move to an unlimited plan, you'll get it automatically. Unless you're able to pick up mmWave (they brand it as 5G+, available in parts of select markets), you're either on shared spectrum or n5. I've tested both and the speeds are pretty good in my area (mmWave is the real deal, but very isolated), but I'm also in a really good market for AT&T's LTE network.

    Also, if your plan is provisioned for it, on an iPhone, you'd see 5G options under Settings > Cellular > Voice & Data or Data Mode (or under the sub-menu for AT&T if you're doing dual-SIM). Your data indicator would also show 5G or 5G+ instead of 5GE, LTE, or 4G.

  12. #12
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    Didn’t know the differences on 5Ge etc so thanks.

    I did go ahead and change my plan for the extra data. The next day I was near the center of town and I saw the “5Ge” icon which I didn’t realize wasn’t real 5G (at home I only get LTE if I shut off WiFi). I ran a speed test (twice) and both times got about 210 down and 19 up.

    On LTE I get about 60 down and 2-3 up. At home my WiFi on FiOS gets me about 100/100.

    So even if it’s not “true” 5G, I sure can’t imagine a need in the foreseeable future where 200 down / 2X my home WiFi is insufficient . So perfectly happy with my more data and plenty fast speeds.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaOne81 View Post
    Didn’t know the differences on 5Ge etc so thanks.

    I did go ahead and change my plan for the extra data. The next day I was near the center of town and I saw the “5Ge” icon which I didn’t realize wasn’t real 5G (at home I only get LTE if I shut off WiFi). I ran a speed test (twice) and both times got about 210 down and 19 up.

    On LTE I get about 60 down and 2-3 up. At home my WiFi on FiOS gets me about 100/100.

    So even if it’s not “true” 5G, I sure can’t imagine a need in the foreseeable future where 200 down / 2X my home WiFi is insufficient . So perfectly happy with my more data and plenty fast speeds.
    Glad to hear you got something sorted out that works for you! 5GE is AT&T's marketing term for LTE Advanced. They originally explained it as "5G Evolution" as those would be sites that could be easily upgraded to true 5G and/or "on the way to 5G", but it seems it was more to give the illusion that they had 5G rolled out in a lot of places already (and on a lot of phones). Basically, if you're seeing 5GE, it's just a site that has had all the possible LTE upgrades and you're probably seeing multiple-carrier aggregation and other goodies. It's very similar in idea to how AT&T and T-Mobile started branding 3G HSPA as "4G" since "it's basically as fast as a 4G network" or some flimsy explanation like that.

    Even before they changed the indicator to 5GE, I was seeing 200Mbps+ on some sites that were set up as LTE Advanced (at that time, they just showed the LTE indicator) on an iPhone 8 Plus, so it is a pretty impressive use of the spectrum. Some Android phones will show LTE Advanced sites as LTE+, too:

    https://www.tomsguide.com/us/5ge-exp...ews-29329.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaOne81 View Post
    Lo-and-behold, in addition to the unlimited plans which are far more $$$ and I don’t need, I see a “4GB” plan which says it provides 4 GB PER DEVICE. And it’s actually slightly cheaper than my current plan (by less than $1).

    When I played around with the process to change plans though I get a note that my new plan would not include 5G access.

    1) Can the billing plan really impact my connection speed?
    2) Does my old Mobile Share plan include it? It existed before 5G did? How can I check if I’m really getting it or not on my 12? I DO see it saying “5G” in the top right, but how do I know if I really get those speeds?
    1.) Yes
    2.) No

    AT&T can and has added features to old plans and has notified customers of the changes made to your plan via text/email, however if you already see the 5G icon on your iPhone 12 then you likely have the service and AT&T hasn't gotten around to notifying its customers. Even the previous Unlimited plan that I had, AT&T added 5G to it. AT&T made changes to my Unlimited Elite plan in June-July but 2 days ago I received an email stating the changes they made.

    Had I stayed with the previous Unlimited plan, I would have gotten it, however I ended getting the iPhone 12 and didn't want to guess whether AT&T was going to retroactively add 5G and thought that HBO Max would be useful.

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    My wife is on a Mobile Share 3GB plan still, using an iPhone Xs. Can can anyone confirm that 5g is still -not- included on this plan? It is impossible to find this out as far as I can tell using the ATT support pages. I guess I could try popping the SIM into my Galaxy 20 Ultra and see what happens, but I'm lazy that way.

    She'd like to get an iPhone 13 Pro but if she has to change plans to get 5g, we might take advantage of one of the "it's not a contract, but acts like one" 3 year lock-in, Unlimited plan trade in deals.

    EDIT:

    though some digging, I managed to bring up a table comparing her Mobile Share 3GB plan to Unlimited plans and it clearly says that the Mobile Share plan DOES NOT include 5G access. such a shame, because my wife doesn't use much data and the access to hotspot capability without being gouged monthly is a nice to have.

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    Last edited by phelme; 09-17-2021 at 12:55 PM.

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