Saturday, June 3, 2023

Many Samsung 5G Phones will not work with Celcom5G, Unifi5G, U Mobile 5G [Commentary]

Many 5G smartphones distributed by Samsung Malaysia Electronics (SME) Sdn. Bhd. will not work with the 5G services from Celcom 5G, Unifi Mobile 5G (uni5G) and U Mobile 5G.


In the past, Samsung has been known to intentionally disable 5G services on smartphones sold with 5G technology, making a number of these premium phones incompatible during the trial of 5G networks in Malaysia.

When YTL Communications launched its 5G services to consumers back in December 2021, many Samsung 5G smartphones did not work for the first few months of 2022. A software updates was released to enable 5G on Samsung flagship smartphones such as the S21 and S22 series. But until today, older flagship smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (launched in 2020) is still listed as unsupported by the Malaysia 5G network provider (DNB) although it is now compatible with YTL’s Yes 5G service.

DNB also listed the following Samsung as incompatible (screenshot-PDF), pending a software update- Galaxy A32 5G, Galaxy A52 5G, Galaxy A52S 5G, Galaxy M52 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy S21 FE 5G.

Here’s the twist. Samsung keeps a whitelist of 5G mobile network operators(MNOs) that will work with its 5G smartphone. For example, the Galaxy S21 5G or the Fold2 may work with Yes5G but it won’t work with Unifi Mobile 5G (uni5G).

Here’s another twist. Yes 5G, Celcom 5G, Unifi Mobile 5G (uni5G) and U Mobile 5G all runs on the same DNB 5G network.

So why is Samsung doing this?

Samsung Malaysia has not responded to my questions at the time of writing.

Apart from Samsung, Apple has also disabled 5G on all iPhones sold in Malaysia. Its been over 10-months since 5G was made available but not a single iPhone 5G works with the Malaysia 5G network despite being hardware-compatible.

As for the other Smartphone brands with 5G, there are no similar issues like this so far. If you have a 5G smartphone from Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Huawei, Honor or any well known smartphone brands, it should work with Yes5G, Celcom5G, Uni5G, U Mobile 5G or any compatible 5G network without major issues.

Below is a list of Samsung smartphones that will work with the current 5G service providers in Malaysia as of 4 November 2022.

U Mobile 5G


  • S22 series
  • Fold4
  • Flip4
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy M23 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy A13 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Active4 Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy A23 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

U Mobile did not provide the full list of supported 5G smartphones although it referred to the 5G smartphones listed on the DNB website.

The MNO said it is working with Apple to enable U Mobile 5G on compatible iPhones. There are no known issues with other 5G smartphone brands.

Celcom 5G

Celcom has referred to the DNB website for the list of compatible 5G smartphones. Below is list of Samsung smartphones that Celcom said will work with Celcom 5G services.

  • Galaxy S20 FE 5G
  • Galaxy S21 5G
  • Galaxy S21+ 5G
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
  • Galaxy S22 5G
  • Galaxy S22+ 5G
  • Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G
  • Galaxy Z Flip3 5G
  • Galaxy Z Flip4
  • Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
  • Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
  • Galaxy Z Fold4
  • Galaxy A22 5G
  • Galaxy A33 5G
  • Galaxy A42 5G
  • Galaxy A53 5G
  • Galaxy A73 5G
  • Galaxy M23
  • Galaxy M33

Unifi Mobile 5G (uni5G)

Unifi Mobile has published a full list of smartphones that will work with its uni5g services. Many Samsung 5G smartphones are not compatible yet with uni5g, pending a software update from Samsung (possibly an Android 13 update).

Below is a list of Samsung 5G phones that will work with unif5G:

  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy A23 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy M23 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S22+ 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

You may refer to the full list of supported smartphones here.

Unifi Mobile said it is currently working with Samsung and Apple to get uni5G certified on more smartphones.

This is a commentary.

Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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