If you’ve been following the development and evolution of the US wireless industry for more than a minute, you already know that the country’s 5G networks are very not created equal. In addition, the same 5G network can produce vastly different download (and upload) speeds depending on what state, city, and even neighborhood you live in, as evidenced by, among other things, a recent Ookla report highlighting the vast differences between, say, New York and New Mexico.
The main cause of those gaps, of course, has nothing to do with geography and everything to do with the deployment of a number of 5G resources collectively grouped under the mid- and high-band labels. The latter technology, also known as mmWave, was initially seen by Verizon and AT&T as the real game changer in the industry, but T-Mobile instead put a huge bet on the slower mid-band 5G flavor that paid off.
Verizon is coming hard after T-Mobile
You know how Magenta completely crushed Big Red in the last three months of measurements from this same company both 5G and general mobile network experiences? Well, things aren’t nearly as simple when it comes to strictly 5G Enhanced numbers.
Before discussing how incredibly tight these are in tests conducted between March 16 and June 13, 2022, we should point out that “5G Enhanced” is just a generic term coined by Opensignal to encompass all the different marketing labels used by carriers. used for their various mid-band and mmWave offerings.
5G+, ultra capacity, Ultra Wideband, it’s all there, and from an availability standpoint, T-Mobile’s dominance is as clear as in all those other reports lumping these “enhanced” signals with 4G LTE-esque low-band 5G.
The speed battle is a different story this time around, with T-Mo barely coming out on top in downloads and Verizon statistically tying its arch-rival in the upload category. Just in case you need a refresher, Magenta was nearly 100Mbps ahead of the silver medalist overall 5G download speed section of the previous Opensignal report, which just goes to show… how bad Big Red still is at the low-band game.
But again, it is becoming increasingly clear that Verizon’s C-band service is a worthy rival to T-Mobile’s mid-band tech, though for some reason we can’t really say the same about AT&T’s own C-band signal… not yet. Of course, a win is a win, and it’s especially impressive that the “Un-carrier” can cling to this coveted 5G Enhanced download speed trophy with virtually no mmWave footprint.
T-Mobile has yet to step it up in a few categories
That’s right, everything is not perfect in the magenta-coated paradise. In reality, Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband users are statistically likely more satisfied with their mobile multiplayer gaming, FaceTime, and Netflix binge-watching sessions than their T-Mobile Ultra Capacity 5G rocking counterparts.
Even more worrying for T-Mo, AT&T’s 5G+ network ranks second in games and voice app experiences, although Magenta (semi) may be content with its silver medal for “adaptive video experience”.
These are three smartphone use cases that carriers and industry analysts expect to benefit greatly from all the gradual 5G improvements and major breakthroughs in the future, and it already looks like mid-band technology will make mobile life easier, faster and more convenient for millions. and millions of users across the country.
For example, it’s interesting to note that Verizon’s video streaming score is significantly higher on “5G Enhanced” than general 5G
, not to mention that all the big three carriers can currently offer a much better viewing experience where mid-band 5G is available than what was possible before these implementations. That’s the most important thing in the end, right? Watching everyone push their limits, even at a (wildly) different pace.