It is time yet again for PCMag’s once-a-year Quickest Cell Community shootout, and it is an significant one particular. This is the initially year in which we have just a few important carriers, and all of them are pushing 5G tricky. Verizon took the crown in 2020, scarcely edging out AT&T. Even so, that is thanks almost entirely to the power of its 4G LTE network. This year’s test reveals that 5G isn’t all it is cracked up to be—it’s essentially slower than 4G in a whole lot of sites.
You might be wondering, “how can this be genuine?” Just after all, carriers have been crowing about their blazing fast 5G speeds all year. The report reveals that it is at least a lie of omission. While 5G can be really fast in the appropriate conditions, you are going to almost never be in a area exactly where that is genuine in 2020.
Verizon showed the best utmost download pace at about 2Gbps, but PCMag found just 4 p.c of its network has 5G. That’s a consequence of Verizon’s reliance on millimeter wave 5G, which does not travel really far but can deliver large speeds if you are near to the mobile web site (like the one particular previously mentioned). AT&T and T-Cell equally have small-band 5G networks that run on LTE-like frequencies in addition to some millimeter wave. Even so, these small-band networks have the opposite dilemma. They are much more obtainable but can be even slower than LTE.
AT&T has 5G masking about 38 p.c of the analyzed regions, and it can arrive at speeds in surplus of 400Mbps. It commonly does not, however. With just a sliver of spectrum at 850MHz reserved for 5G, speeds were being slower than 4G in 21 out of 22 analyzed locations. LTE band aggregation has manufactured AT&T’s balkanized 4G network really fast, but 5G just can’t reward from that know-how in the similar way appropriate now.
T-Mobile’s 5G is a center floor appropriate now. It is making use of a chunk of 600MHz for small-band appropriate now, and speeds were being inconsistent. In some marketplaces, it far too was slower than Tmo’s 4G. Even so, in some sites exactly where it has a more substantial spectrum license, it was considerably faster. T-Cell also has the edge of Sprint’s 2.5GHz mid-band 5G spectrum but has only just began deploying it. Locations like Washington DC and Philadelphia that have the new frequency were being a great deal faster on 5G than 4G.
This report sales opportunities us to one particular inescapable conclusion: 5G isn’t prepared. Still, Qualcomm packed 5G know-how into its most recent chips and gave OEMs solid incentives to use it. Carriers were being delighted to go alongside since much more Geez is great promoting. What did we get out of all this? Extra pricey phones that apparently aren’t as fast. Probably 5G will be truly worth making use of following year, but it is a lousy expertise in 2020.