AT&T’s 5G ain’t shit (yet), according to a new PCMag report
While speeds are increasing, 5G isn’t changing the world.
Today, PCMag released its 2020 Fastest Mobile Networks report and there are plenty of interesting insights to be found regarding 5G and general mobile speeds. For one, Verizon seems to be crushing it in the download speeds category, while T-Mobile seems to be in the lead when dealing with upload speeds.
But the thing that probably sticks out the most in this report is that 5G actually isn’t all that fast (yet) and AT&T is the leader (loser?) in that category. Basically, as PCMag puts it, “This is a crisis for marketing, not for performance. All three US carriers showed significantly higher download speeds and better broadband reliability than they did in our 2019 tests. It’s just that these gains, particularly on AT&T, are largely because of improvements in 4G, not 5G networks.”
In 21 out of the 22 cities tested for 5G, 5G phones from AT&T performed worse than its 4G counterparts. This is because AT&T is using something PCMag refers to as “faux G.” To get more technical, it is explained that “AT&T’s 5G slices off a narrow bit of the old 850MHz cellular band and assigns it to 5G, to give phones a valid 5G icon without increasing performance. And because of the way current 5G phones work, it often reduces performance. At locations with both 4G and 5G, our 5G phone was slower than our 4G phone in 21 out of 22 cities.”
Another interesting note from PCMag’s report is in regards to the T-Mobile and Sprint merger. While it is expected that the merger will improve service and speeds for customers, currently that isn’t the case. PCMag chalks that up to congestion and that currently, T-Mobile is struggling to deal with the influx of customers. While speeds did improve (like everyone’s speeds), T-Mobile’s growth was smaller than AT&T and Verizon.
PCMag notes, “T-Mobile pleads patience, saying that once it’s able to properly reuse Sprint’s spectrum for 5G, performance will improve. That promise appears to be bearing fruit in a few cities, but T-Mobile must move faster to make that real.”
There’s a lot of interesting insights from the report, so make sure to check it out here if you are interested in learning more.
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