Opensignal’s latest 5G analysis found that all ten carriers measured saw much faster speeds for their users on 5G compared with 4G, with speeds between 18.4 times and 1.7 times faster on 5G. However, average 5G download ratess also varied widely, ranging between 506.1 Mbps on Verizon down to 47 Mbps on T-Mobile US.
The time that users spent connected to 5G — 5G Availability — also varied greatly between operators, reaching a high of 19.8% of the time on T-Mobile US, indicating that while T-Mobile 5G speeds may not be the fastest, their users will experience the higher 5G speeds considerably more often than the users of other 5G operators.
Opensignal’s findings highlighted the differences between the type of 5G spectrum offered by each operator. Of the ten operators analyzed, Verizon is the only one to exclusively use mmWave spectrum and this is the main reason for the extremely high speeds our 5G users have observed on its network. Similarly, the two operators here whose users had the slowest 5G speeds both primarily relied upon low-band spectrum re-purposed from 4G services — 600Mhz for T-Mobile US and 850Mhz for AT&T — which offers extremely good coverage but less capacity and slower average speeds. All the other operators relied on mid-band spectrum for their 5G services.
Although Australia’s Telstra, all three of South Korea’s operators, Sprint in the U.S. and the U.K.’s EE and Vodafone have all deployed 5G on mid-band spectrum, users’ speeds differed greatly from well over 200 Mbps on all three Korean operators, to 114.2 Mbps on Sprint. In part, this speed difference is because of the amount of 5G spectrum available to deploy — wider channels are better, ideally 100Mhz in a single 5G band — but it’s also due to other differences in the networks such as the capacity of the onward connection from each cell site or the performance of each operator’s core network.
As the new T-Mobile combines the assets of Sprint, Opensignal expects to see the average 5G speed of new T-Mobile users rising as they benefit from the mid-band 5G spectrum which Sprint has deployed.
More info via Opensignal here.