There are few industry movements as dumb as the 5G wars between US carriers. AT&T kicked it all off with their 100% fake 5G that was labeled as 5Ge, but now that carriers have real 5G activated, there is a constant chest puffing over speeds vs. coverage. Today, because a couple of reports want to talk about speeds, Verizon is taking the silliest of victory laps.
Both RootMetrics and OpenSignal released 5G speed performance data this week, both of which name Verizon as the fastest 5G carrier in the land. One of the reports even shows that Verizon has the fastest 5G in the world by a large margin.
The thing is, it’s the dumbest of titles to own when your network reaches almost no one.
Take a look at this OpenSignal data that shows Verizon’s 5G network capable of crushing average speeds over 500Mbps. This chart below puts Verizon over all of South Korea’s 5G carriers and shows them dominating Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile here in the US.
Impressive, no? It is until all of three paragraphs later in that same report, we get this piece of info:
Do you see it? Here, let me zoom in and add fun annotations.
Verizon’s 5G, the fastest in the entire world, is availability to 0.5% of 5G users.
RootMetrics shows similar availability, which you can see below. While Verizon 5G in LA and Philadelphia is closing in on 700Mbps speeds, they found it only available 0.49% and 0.21% of the time. In Minneapolis, 5G was available for 0.05% of testing.
We know that Verizon placed its early bet on 5G mmW, the type of 5G that struggles to form a stable connection through your hand, a window, the rain, or if you walk a block away from a tower. We also know that it is the fast part of 5G that can produce multi-gigabit speeds if you take away all interference.
While T-Mobile and AT&T are trying to build out their sub-6 networks to create a stable, wide-spreading 5G network you might actually connect to, Verizon has not done that yet. Instead, they are building out city block by city block with 5G mmW, hoping that…I don’t even know what the plan is, to be honest. At the pace they are currently on, I’m not sure the percentages above are going to come up much any time soon.
Maybe one day we’ll all get to experience the “Fastest 5G network in the world!” I just don’t know when.