PSA: You may need a new SIM card to access T-Mobile’s 5G Standalone network

PSA: You may need a new SIM card to access T-Mobile’s 5G Standalone network

T-Mobile recently became the world’s first telecom service provider to offer a commercial nationwide standalone (SA) 5G network. With this move, the company expanded 5G coverage by 30 percent and gave high-speed 5G access to nearly 250 million people across 7,500 cities and towns in the United States. However, in order to access T-Mobile’s new SA 5G network, users may have to get a new SIM card from the company.

According to a recent post on T-Mobile’s support page, subscribers won’t be able to use the company’s new 5G network unless they have a SA 5G capable SIM card. While the company is providing a compatible SIM card with all recently purchased T-Mobile 5G compatible devices, users will need to activate the new card by following the steps given in this post.

T-Mobile

In case you aren’t sure if you have a compatible SIM card or not, T-Mobile has shared a reference image (attached above) that you can use to identify the same. ith R15 wSIM cards written in pink are compatible with the new SA 5G network, while SIM cards with the letters ‘TM’ followed by four numbers are not. In case you’ve lost the new SIM card that came with your 5G device, you’ll have to contact T-Mobile or visit a nearby store for a replacement SIM.

In all, you’ll need these three things to access T-Mobile’s SA 5G network:

  • A T-Mobile 5G compatible device that has received a software update to be compatible with SA 5G.
  • A T-Mobile SA 5G compatible SIM card.
  • A location with SA 5G coverage.

In case you have any further queries regarding the new SA 5G network, you can check out the FAQ section below.

FAQ

  • What is Standalone 5G vs. Non-Standalone?
    • Non-standalone (NSA) relies on a mid-band LTE signal to access the 5G network. The device must connect to both LTE AND 5G. Standalone (SA) operates independently of the LTE network. With SA, the device connects to LTE OR 5G, whatever is the appropriate core network. SA allows full access to the benefits of 5G without the limitations of legacy LTE.
  • Who is eligible for Standalone 5G? Will I have to change my plan or pay more?
    • Customers’ T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile plans include access to 5G (SA and NSA) at no extra cost.
  • Are there any technical requirements to access SA 5G besides a compatible SIM?
    • Yes, your device must receive a software update from the manufacturer to work on 5G SA. All 5G capable devices will eventually be sent the software update; for some devices this has already happened while others will come at a later date. T-Mobile doesn’t currently have information from the manufacturers to know when. If your devices haven’t received the update yet, it will still work great on our LTE network and on the Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G coverage, so you will see 5G when you travel to other locations. Once the software update is available, you’ll pick up the new 5G technology at your location too!
  • What benefits can I expect with Standalone 5G?
    • SA is a major milestone as it’s essential to unlocking truly transformational 5G in the future. Currently, Standalone 5G allows T-Mobile to expand 5G coverage and performs similar to NSA that already exists today. Down the road, Standalone 5G is expected to deliver the capacity, data speeds, and lower latency that will fuel future innovation. As 5G apps and innovations are introduced, they will be optimized on Standalone 5G technology.
  • Is standalone 5G faster than Non-Standalone?
    • Currently, Standalone 5G performs similar to NSA that already exists today. Down the road, Standalone 5G is expected to deliver the capacity, data speeds, and lower latency that will fuel future innovation. As 5G apps and innovations are introduced, they will be optimized on Standalone 5G technology.
  • Is Standalone the only 5G coverage on the T-Mobile network?
    • No, the majority of our nationwide 5G network is on NSA. We have started lighting up Standalone 5G in select areas and will roll out additional SA as we continue to expand the T-Mobile 5G network.
  • Where can I access Standalone 5G? Can I see it on your coverage map?
    • We’ve just started rolling out SA so it’s only available in select areas. The coverage map shows our nationwide 5G footprint so you’ll notice the expanded 5G coverage, especially in some rural areas and indoor locations where there wasn’t 5G coverage before. The map does not, however, distinguish SA from NSA. A T-Mobile care or retail sales associate can help identify if there’s SA in your area – if you’d like to learn more, please visit a T-Mobile retail store or call 611 on your mobile device.
  • Can Sprint customers with a 5G capable device access Standalone 5G?
    • Sprint 5G devices cannot access our newest Standalone 5G technology. These devices can, however, access our Nationwide 5G (NSA) coverage.
  • Can Metro customers with a 5G device access Standalone 5G?
    • Yes, customers on Metro by T-Mobile who meet the technical requirements can access Standalone 5G. Capable device required; coverage not available in some areas. While 5G access won’t require a certain plan or feature, some uses/services might. See Coverage details, Terms and Conditions, and Open Internet information for network management details (like video optimization) at T-Mobile.com.

About author

Pranob Mehrotra
Pranob Mehrotra

A Literature and Linguistics graduate with a keen interest in everything Android. When not writing about tech, Pranob spends most of his time either playing League of Legends or lurking on Reddit.