Does the OnePlus 9 series support 5G?
The simple answer is yes, all three devices in the OnePlus 9 series, including the OnePlus 9R, support 5G. But as always, the devil is in the details. It’s one thing if your device has the required hardware to connect to a 5G cell site and another thing whether it supports the same 5G bands that your carrier broadcasts its signals on. This applies to the US more than any other market as carriers here tend to require a tedious certification process before allowing new phones to connect to their networks. If you’re planning to buy either a OnePlus 9 or OnePlus 9 Pro in the US and unsure whether you’ll be able to enjoy faster 5G speeds on your carrier, you’ve come to the right place.
OnePlus 9 and 5G caveats
In the US, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro can be purchased unlocked directly from OnePlus or through T-Mobile. If you go for the unlocked variant, you can expect it to work on T-Mobile and Verizon’s 5G networks. However, if you’re an AT&T subscriber, you’re out of luck. The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro don’t support 5G bands used by AT&T. However, you’ll be able to use the carrier’s LTE network, though.
As for Verizon, OnePlus promised at the launch that it was working with the carrier to certify the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. They subsequently did get both phones certified to work on Verizon’s 5G network. But there’s a catch.
OnePlus 9 Pro gives you the fastest 5G speeds
While the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro support Verizon’s nationwide 5G network, only the Pro model can tap into Big Red’s Ultra Wideband 5G. This is Verizon’s much faster mmWave 5G network, built upon the high-band millimeter spectrum, that’s capable of reaching 2 Gbps and above in the downlink. The Ultra Wideband network is only live at select locations in the US. Still, if it’s available at your place, it will make sense to opt for the OnePlus 9 Pro as it will get you the fastest 5G speeds.
It’s worth mentioning that out of all four global models, the North American OnePlus 9 Pro is the only model to support millimeter-wave radio. That’s not a big deal considering mmWave 5G has yet to gain momentum outside the US.
What about 5G on the Indian OnePlus 9R?
Right now, OnePlus 9R users in India can only expect to see a 5G signal on their phone in two scenarios: in their dreams or when they travel abroad where 5G networks are deployed. Outside of China, the OnePlus 9R remains exclusive to India, a country where commercial 5G is still a few years into the future. So while you do have everything in place to latch onto a 5G cell site, you’ll have to play the waiting game for your first 5G experience.
To summarize, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro will support some form of 5G on all US carriers but AT&T. The OnePlus 9 Pro is your best bet if you want to experience blazing fast (but also spotty at times) mmWave 5G, and is the only device in the OnePlus 9 series to offer it — the other two only support 5G Sub-6GHz. As for the India-exclusive OnePlus 9R: no 5G infrastructure means no 5G for now.