Samsung gives the Tab S6 a 5G version, but it's only for South Korea right now

The Tab S6 is the first tablet to enter the world of 5G.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G | Mobile networks | Wireless carriers | Phones | Tablets | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms | Mobile | Console gaming
Eli Blumenthal
2 min read

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S6 is getting a 5G variant in Korea. 


Samsung's Tab S6 is getting a new variant, at least in the electronic giant's home country of South Korea. On Wednesday Samsung announced that it's adding a 5G variant of the Android tablet for KRW 999,900 (roughly $850) on Jan. 30, aptly calling it the Tab S6 5G. 

The tablet will be largely similar to the existing non-5G model and features a 10.5-inch display, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The big change is in the cellular modem: It's Qualcomm's X50 chip instead of the X24 that was in the 4G LTE version of the tablet. Last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor remains under the hood. 

It's unclear whether Samsung will bring the 5G model to areas outside of Korea. Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Whereas the X50 is fine for supporting some flavors of 5G it isn't capable of connecting to both higher-frequency millimeter-wave 5G and the low or midband "sub-6" networks. South Korea's 5G rollout is much further along than the US, particularly when it comes to rolling out midband spectrum that provides noticeably faster speeds than low-band 5G. A 5G tablet that can connect to just the midband networks makes sense there.

US networks from Verizon , AT&T and T-Mobile all plan to use multiple flavors of 5G with Verizon currently relying solely on millimeter-wave and AT&T and T-Mobile using a mix of low-band and millimeter-wave depending on the area (all carriers are eyeing an FCC auction for midband spectrum set for later this year with T-Mobile currently hoping to close its merger with Sprint and acquire its midband holdings). For the US market, it makes sense for carriers to wait for 5G chips that support all three flavors of 5G before rolling out the next batch of 5G devices.

The wait also shouldn't be much longer. Samsung is holding an event on Feb. 11 where it is expected to announce the long-rumored Galaxy S20 line. The new S20 phones are said to pack Qualcomm's updated X55 modem that can utilize all three forms of 5G.