You’ve already heard us say that 5G, in its early rollout days, is kinda awful. However, it is fun to watch network operators, such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile take jabs at each other concerning who has the best 5G offering so early in the game.
We recently posted a story about AT&T’s 5G network and the first speed tests we were seeing. The speeds essentially align with what we expected from the first days of 5G network availability, but already, Verizon spokespeople are publicly bashing AT&T’s “fake 5G Network.”
— Kevin King (@kvnhkng) January 2, 2019
We’re loving the hostility on a Wednesday morning, Mr. King.
Now, Mr. King isn’t exactly wrong, but he’s not entirely correct either. AT&T’s mobile 5G network, which can only be accessed by a Nighthawk hotspot device, utilizes the same mmWave technology that we’ve discussed before. 5G, when fully matured, is a network made up of networks: mmWave, sub-6GHz, and the ever-improving LTE network you know and love today. This chart beautifully shows the whole 5G picture that we’re all shooting for.
The point is, Verizon’s own 5G plans also rely on mmWave technology, such as the planned Moto Mod for the Moto Z3. Even its 5G Home offering is based on mmWave. Right now, mmWave is extremely limited in its connectivity, with location and distance playing critical roles on your connection speed. Really, until the mixture of mmWave and sub-6GHz is a thing, I’m fine in saying that all these so-called 5G networks, even though AT&T wants to call it something different like 5G+, aren’t the real 5G networks we’ve been dreaming of.
T-Mobile has been petty, too. Back in January, 2018, the company’s CTO Neville Ray coined #Fake5G in a blog post, essentially poking fun at AT&T and Verizon for using mmWave and pawning it off as 5G, though, T-Mobile’s 5G future plans also incorporate the use mmWave. For T-Mobile, it’s roadmap isn’t as rushed as AT&T and Verizon’s, being more focused on acquiring Sprint, which would allow it to have a more solid rollout of the sub-6GHz + mmWave combo. As T-Mobile’s own CEO John Legere puts it, “AT&T’s idea of 5G is basically LTE. Our proposed merger with Sprint will supercharge the Uncarrier, create real broad and deep nationwide mobile 5G.”
Our issue, albeit a small one, is that T-Mobile doesn’t intend to launch its “nationwide 5G” until much, much later down the road.
Hopefully, the competition between AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile will lead to better mobile experiences by us, the consumers. We’re the people they’re trying to impress after all, right? Screw the “First to 5G!” game, just give me the 5G dream each of you keep hyping in your marketing materials and press events. Until then, keep talking all the trash you can because we’re enjoying it!