AT&T's "5G" network was uncovered recently as bogus, pertaining merely to the network's "5G Evolution" which, while a bit of a step up from 4G, still isn't true 5G. But even that might be fraudulent as well, according to a new study.
Apparently, 5G E isn't just misleading, but it's also actually slower than other carrier with similar LTE Advanced and Advanced Pro technologies.
The study, first report by Ars Technica, was done by OpenSignal, where it measured and compared download speeds from AT&T's 5G E network against the results from other carriers' 4G LTE services. OpenSignal notes that its study is based on tests on 1,057,522 devices nationwide, spanning all four major carriers, between Jan. 28 and Feb. 26.
AT&T 5G LTE
Only a handful of phones can leverage AT&T's 5G E network, and they're indeed faster than AT&T's 4G offerings on lower-tier phones. However, 5G E only scored a peak download speed of 28.8 Mbps, placing it third out of the four carriers, with Verizon coming in first, T-Mobile second, and Sprint last.
That's not all. OpenSignal also noted that when the same 5G E phones are used on different networks, there's barely any difference in speed. As The Verge notes, it's almost as if there's nothing special about 5G E at all, as opposed to what AT&T has been claiming all this time.
The carrier in question has addressed the study, claiming that OpenSignal's methodology is "flawed," adding that:
"Speed-test data purporting to show the 'real-world experience of 5G Evolution' without verifying the capable devices were tested in a 5G Evolution coverage area as shown by the indicator does not accurately represent the 5G Evolution user experience."
Wrong methodology or not, OpenSignal hones a point that everyone should be aware of: 5G E is not 5G. It's simply a 4G LTE network masking as 5G in order to appeal to consumers hyped about next-generation networks but are none the wiser when it comes to the technical side of things.
Even still, AT&T, along with other carriers, are developing their 5G networks. All carriers plan to launch each of their services sometime this year. Suffice it to say that there's no such thing as a 5G network at the moment. Check out Tech Times' primer on 5G.