Yet Another Study Shows U.S. 5G Is Far Slower Than Many Other Nations

from the not-the-revolution-we-were-promised dept

Last May, a largely overlooked report by OpenSignal detailed how, despite endless hype, U.S. 5G is notably slower than 5G in most other developed countries. Because U.S. regulators failed to make mid-band spectrum (which offers faster speeds at greater range) widely available, many U.S. wireless carriers like Verizon embraced higher millimeter wave spectrum (which has trouble with range and building wall penetration) or low-band spectrum (which offers greater range but at notably reduced speeds). The result of the study was fairly obvious:

A new updated report by OpenSignal didn’t have any better news. According to the wireless network analysis firm, average 5G download speeds in the US is somewhere around 50 Mbps. And while that’s certainly nothing to sneeze at, it’s a far cry from carrier hype proclaiming 5G is somehow utterly revolutionary, and it’s far from the 200-400 Mbps speeds being seen in many other countries:

“When we consider the average download speed using 5G technology we see a very different story. While Saudi Arabia remains in first place, South Korea jumps to second place with average 5G Download speeds of a staggering 312.7 Mbps ? over five times faster than South Korea?s already fast 4G speeds. The U.K. moves up the rankings with the U.S., Netherlands and Germany now dropping into the last three positions.”

To be clear the U.S. is taking steps toward fixing the problem. The FCC just completed a major auction of mid-band spectrum, though confidentiality means we don’t yet know who the winners of the auction were. It’s also worth noting that because of the heavy use of low-band spectrum in the U.S. (again, offering slower speeds but at better range), U.S. 5G signal availability and reliability (assuming you’ve in a launch market and were able to afford a new phone that supports it) has been pretty good, even if our implementation of 5G isn’t as fast as many other nations.

The problem is that while 5G is somewhat faster than 4G in the States, a modest evolution is not what’s being advertised to the end user. Companies like Verizon advertise 5G as a near-mystical panacea that’s capable of revolutionizing everything from smart cities to cancer treatment, even though a closer examination usually shows that’s simply not true. Carriers have also been repeatedly misleading the public about where 5G is actually available, which is associating the standard with empty hype in the minds of consumers.

The other problem that will plague the U.S. (but gets largely ignored by firms employed by wireless carriers who don’t want the subject talked about) is the cost of 5G in the States. Americans already pay some of the highest prices for 4G in the developed world, and with the triple punch of captured regulators, the death of net neutrality rules (which prohibited non-transparent “creative” nickel-and-diming of users) and an almost mindless lust for competition and job-eroding industry consolidation, Americans will once again wind up paying higher prices for slower service than most developed nations.

That’s all a long way of saying that for a country that prattles on endlessly about the importance of the “race to 5G,” we’re a far cry from ever being able to claim we’re actually winning it.

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Companies: verizon

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Comments on “Yet Another Study Shows U.S. 5G Is Far Slower Than Many Other Nations”

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33 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Verizon ads for 5G

Fact check: 5G is not even 2x faster than 4G. Not even 1.8x as the graph claims (the title is wrong… In the US it’s not 1.8x "faster" but 1.8x "as fast". That’s 0.8x faster, a big difference.)

It is somewhat amusing that Verizon, et. al., are fighting against the very system they helped create in order to bring this new product to market. Karma, bitches.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"I remain satisfied with 3G"

Good for you. But, your personal satisfaction doesn’t help the person who needs higher speeds.

"I HAVE no need for the silly expensive nanny devices and their ridiculously insecure invasive applications."

I’m not sure which applications you’re referring to, but this suggests you don’t know what the argument is here.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"What’s the argument? "

There’s things that 3G does not allow to happen due to its low speed. I’m also not aware of any specific application that you’re afraid of that would require 5G and is not also using previous connection types. Hence my question.

"5G is a product in search of a market."

Maybe, but 4G isn’t, so I’m interested to see what you think makes 3G the best choice, given that there are things you cannot do effectively with 3G.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"I remain satisfied with 3G, I HAVE no need for the silly expensive nanny devices…"

A good case for expanding 4G until it actually has coverage and nominal speeds rather than, as is now, half the citizenry in a modern capital still chugging away on 3G because the 4G signal repeaters are too far apart to provide decent signal strength.

I’ll give you a point that 5G is silly. Overhyped, expensive, not worth the effort or maintenance, most likely used mainly as a way for large telco nigh-monopolies to gouge their customer base for more money for nothing in return…

But saying you’re satisfied with 3G is your personal opinion. As many have noted there’s a lot a 3G connection just can’t do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Snake Oil

"When the Federal Trade Commission finds a case of fraud perpetrated on consumers, the agency files actions in federal district court for immediate and permanent orders to stop scams; prevent fraudsters from perpetrating scams in the future; freeze their assets; and get compensation for victims."
ftc

Our government would not lie to us now would they? lol

Words on paper == paper tiger

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Snake Oil

"There has to be some kind of truth-in-advertising law that can cover this."

In the US? Err…forgive my doubt but I thought that’s where you were from?
A demand to be truthful in advertising is one of those government regulation directives which americans tend to hate. And it might in this case fall partially into the purview of the FCC at which point Pai wouldn’t sit up and notice if Verizon had promised their 5G connection would heal the blind and lame.

This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
Ann Brush (profile) says:

The perils of slow 5G

There is one under appreciated side benefit of having very slow 5G in the US: It means that Americans are killed in fewer number and more slowly by 5G waves. The graphic shows that US Mbps (Millions of Brave People Succumbing) values are much lower than South Korea for example. I’m sure we can all get behind that.

Anonymous Coward says:

The standards for something like 5G are developed by the ITU – the International Telecommunications Union. Let us say the there are 35 features in their definition of ‘5G’.
In Europe and Asia, they implement all 35 features, and get appropriate blazing speeds for customers. It is treated like the valuable international infrastructure it is.

In the USA, telco execs probably get bonuses for seeing how many of the features they can ignore and still charge customers for ‘5G’, and that’s exactly what they do. They leave out as much as they can, up to the point where their lawyers tell them that they would be committing fraud.

‘Can we put five grandmas in the ad and call it 5G?’
‘No.’

Anonymous Coward says:

The standards for something like 5G are developed by the ITU – the International Telecommunications Union. Let us say the there are 35 features in their definition of ‘5G’.
In Europe and Asia, they implement all 35 features, and get appropriate blazing speeds for customers. It is treated like the valuable international infrastructure it is.

In the USA, telco execs probably get bonuses for seeing how many of the features they can ignore and still charge customers for ‘5G’, and that’s exactly what they do. They leave out as much as they can, up to the point where their lawyers tell them that they would be committing fraud.

‘Can we put five grandmas in the ad and call it 5G?’
‘No.’

ECA (profile) says:

With all of that.

Lets see what good 5G can, might do.
What are the odds, that it will be setup and displayed to be the Next Wireless internet to home?
Or do you think they Wont expand the systems PAst what they already have?
Because they need Fiber optic to Every Antenna they have installed, Unless they are idiots and still TRYING to use Copper lines to run a system that needs Access to 1000+ customers per antenna 24/7.
Which COULD explain allot of the problems they Are having. Since no one is doing the Last mile of Fiber(intercity). Having a copper line that can handle all the Individual signals, would take them limiting the Speed, and just add more connections, Insted of having enough bandwidth for everyone.
SOP, deal with what you got, as long as you can and PROFIT.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re:

But its funny,
What can you add on top of all this speed, that the corps, and gov want added, and Not slow things down. Every wonder what Caller ID can really do? As well as other tech involved? Wires and relays Sucked to monitor things. With all the computers and the abilities they can do, the speed is based on the added overhead of the rest of the system, and how many locations are monitoring you.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Missed the boat?
On what? The overhead thats being added to it, and how easy it will be to Monitor or capture the data being sent back and forth??
NOT to hard if they setup inside the hardware..
Ping the antenna, and send a code and it tells you everyone connected to it. There are no laws against that, YET. there are few if any laws regulating the Cellphone system.

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