Our transition to 5G has been rather complicated as compared to changing from 3G to 4G. The technology first came out with a non-standalone version (NSA) and then now the standalone (SA) version, which promises faster speed. It is a good thing, but what complicates matters is that only certain phones support SA, and phone manufacturers often do not list their phone capability to include whether they support SA or not, simply stating that it is 5G capable. End up, you could well be purchasing a phone that does not work with your telco and wasting money.
To further make matter worse, certain services are not compatible with 5G and it is not easy to know until you learn it the hard way like myself. For instance, as of now, M1 offers an e-sim plan with the Apple Watches that they sell. But this is not compatible with 5G. Hence, you have to choose between having 5G or having data on your Apple Watch. For users who cannot compromise, we end up taking two plans, one just to provide data to the watch and the other to provide 5G. How is this done? Through the multi-sim support by Apple. Is this excessive? After all, we paid a premium to have a 5G phone, as well as an Apple Watch with data. Using both with reduced functionality doesn’t seem to make sense, and once you have experienced 5G, 4G feels like 3G today. And most importantly, in areas with bad 4G reception, there are instances where 5G reception is better since the two are separated with the introduction of SA I believe (except Singtel which seems to operate a hybrid network)
M1 tried to make things better by listing on their website what are the supported devices. But this list invites further questions because for some reason, phones that supports the network band that M1 users are not listed on M1 website. So is this a case of an outdated list? Or is it truly not supported? We can only find out until the phone is here.
For instance, you can see that for this particular phone model – RedMi 10 5G, N78 is supported. But this model is not listed on M1’s website as one of the support devices.
The current 5G network can be unpredictable. For instance, I was stuck in a car park for over an hour because I was unable to top up my cash card which sends an OTP to my 5G number. When I finally managed to get out of the car park and when my phone probably connected to another base station, all the SMSes started coming in. With telecommunication becoming so intertwined with our lives, it is hard to imagine how life would be like with just a minor disruption to network services. Is this a problem with M1 or is it common with other telcos remains unknown to me. But what is pressing is for big corporates to provide a clear direction for consumers like myself who remains powerless to change things.