Even with all the buzz surrounding 5G, hard data on network performance is hard to come by. So, when we came across this speed analysis shedding light on early 5G deployments, we took interest.
Speedtest captures a range of network performance data through its Speedtest Intelligence data. The firm analyzed network intelligence data from 5G capable devices using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 modem in July 2019. Speedtest looked at data from end users who were using the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G or the LG V50 ThinQ 5G smartphone.
It found that Verizon Wireless had a 5G download speed of 870.34 Mbps, compared to 102.23 Mbps for LTE, representing a 751.4% increase. Sprint’s results were 236.09 Mbps for 5G and 79.25 for LTE, a difference of 197.9%.
Verizon and Sprint are relying on different spectrum bands for their current limited 5G offerings. Verizon relies on mmWave in the 28 GHz band, considered ideal for dense urban areas because it can support high bandwidth over short distances. Sprint, on the other hand, is the only U.S. operator offering 5G service in the sub-6 GHz (2.5 GHz TDD) frequency range.
Though Verizon’s speed were far superior, the sub-6GHz frequency that Sprint uses enables it to have wider coverage in comparison with the mmWave technology that Verizon is using.
At the time of the testing, AT&T had yet to launch its consumer offering, so the company was not included in the testing, according to Speedtest.
Speedtest uses a client and server testing engine capable of measuring high-speed connections (up to 10 Gbps). The testing revealed 5G performance in multiple markets. Results for these city-wide tests can be found here.