5G is still just hype for AT&T and Verizon

AT & T and Verizon had major announcements related to 5G this week: AT & T posted speed test results that apparently validated its LTE network "5G E" as the fastest, and Verizon launched its 5G network in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis. But these two ads underscore how messy 5G is right now. The results of AT & T appear to be biased in favor of the company, and the Verizon rollout appears bulky, with poor coverage even in the areas that Verizon promised.

These are just the latest headaches for 5G, which has been affected by delays in deployment, limited hardware testing, conflicting standards, political disputes and more. With telcos rushing to be the first, the odds are that the 5G disaster will only get worse as the deployments continue. If the first experiences of people with 5G are so bad, why should they trust, and pay more, for the networks when they actually arrive?

Take AT & T. The company apparently scored a victory this week by announcing that Ookla's recent speed tests found that its 5G E network (which, again, is LTE, not 5G) is the fastest in the US. UU., Which drove the company's message that the 5G E brand will help solidify AT & T's reputation before its actual 5G launch later this year.

But those results are not as clear as AT & T would have you believe: Ookla says that the increase in the results for AT & T is due to an increase in the speed tests of iPhone users after the release of iOS 12.2, specifically in the iPhone XR, XS Max, XS, X, 8 and 8 Plus, which are the same models that now show 5G E logos after that update.

5g is still just hype for att and verizon

This is not a good look for 5G.

Ookla believes that AT & T's recent increase in speed is simply a result of iPhone users seeing the new 5G E logo and retesting your devices to satisfy your curiosity, thus distorting AT & T's average speed results with an influx of newer device tests. In other words, the AT & T network seems faster since it had more high-speed devices running speed tests to take its average into account than competitors.

It's a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy: by making iPhone users question their network, AT & T was able to increase its average speed by adding an influx of new data to its sample that its competitors did not have, so it's a lie that 5G E is somehow better than LTE an apparent mathematical reality.

Now, those speeds are not completely deceptive: Ookla says that, in general, the speeds on the 5G E devices really were faster than the average speed of AT & T, which makes sense since these are the devices that are designed to take advantage of the LTE-Advanced Innovations that AT & T uses here.

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However, some users obtained better results.

But these latest tests do not prove that AT & T speeds are faster on average, and other results, such as the recent OpenSignal study before iOS 12.2 was released – shows that the 5G E of AT & T is actually slower than T-Mobile and Verizon. Readers of Verge on Twitter have also shared equally bad results; it is certainly not representative of all users, but it is definitely not the kind of first impression that AT & T wants to attach to its 5G brand.

Things do not necessarily improve when you get to the real 5G, since Verizon showed us this Week during its actual 5G release. In his tests in Chicago, my colleague Chris Welch discovered that real 5G would offer dramatically better speeds at speeds between 400 and 600 Mbps for downloads. (These are the types of numbers that the 5G E network of AT & T can only dream of). But the network itself is extremely irregular. When Verizon says that only the "selected areas" will have 5G, it's no joke: the service was reportedly inconsistent. Even when Verizon offered 5G, it often appeared and disappeared from one block to another.

That's a problem. It is possible that Verizon has technically launched its network first, but if it can not offer a broad or consistent service, it is just that: a technical achievement without a real practical application. Verizon's rush to be the first seems to come at the expense of a reliable 5G network, something that early users (who, remember, are paying $ 10 per additional month) will have to deal with Verizon while Verizon gets more substantial coverage.

Adding to confusion: Verizon says that the 5G status icon just will appear when you are actively using 5G. That means you could be standing in a 5G spot and not even know it unless you are actively using your phone. It is the opposite of the AT & T issue. Verizon seems content to hide the fact that you have real 5G until you really test the speed for yourself.

I can not understand why Verizon would do this, unless the goal is to keep the actual size of their 5G networks as vague as possible. That really seems plausible, given the inconsistencies that Chris noticed in his tests.

All this adds to one of the biggest problems with 5G: the hype is overcoming the technical developments of the networks. It may not seem so bad, given that cell phone companies love to promote their products and services, regardless of how they relate to real-world results.

But the stakes are higher with the release of 5G, and if AT & T and Verizon (like T-Mobile and Sprint, who seem to have made the right call by delaying their releases to clarify the details) can not really make the things well, they will end up with disappointed clients once they find out that the reality does not fulfill the promises that were given to them.

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