WASHINGTON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Mobile phone companies advertise high-speed 5G service with U.S. maps splashed with pink or blue to suggest widespread coverage, but the latest generation wireless technology is actually only available less than a third of the time in the best served states, new data shows.
5G technology was designed to be faster than 4G wireless, with so little latency to help make things like driverless cars possible. 5G running on low band spectrum is the slowest, but it has the advantage of considerable range while mid-band can’t travel as far, but is faster. High band spectrum, which is sparsely available, may travel only a mile but is by far the fastest.
An analysis done by OpenSignal released on Thursday found that their testers connected with T-Mobile 5G just 34.7% of the time, AT&T 16.4% of the time and Verizon just 9.7%. And that’s generally not for the fastest 5G many expect.
The numbers are in stark contrast to what the carriers promise about 5G in their advertisements, showing how much they are banking on 5G as a selling point in the hotly-contested market for cellular service.
T-Mobile advertises that it has “America’s largest, fastest, and most reliable 5G network” with a map covered almost completely in pink, suggesting broad coverage. The map does not distinguish what type of 5G a customer will get, but the fine print states its a mix of lower-performing versions. Top-performing “ultra capacity” 5G coverage, meanwhile, is only available in “hundreds of cities and (for) millions of people” instead of most of the country.
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