Apple is set to feature 5G as a significant new technology to this year’s batch of iPhones, but the U.S. network is still not ready for 5G for the masses.
The country’s three largest wireless carriers, Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc., have yet to roll out 5G in a way that provides consistently higher data speeds or widespread coverage.
Apple has asked suppliers to build as many as 80 million of the new iPhones this year, Bloomberg News has reported. Investors and analysts are bullish about the devices, partly because 5G networks are more built out in China. This year’s crop of new iPhones also marks the first major redesign in three years, which could spur more upgrades.
Tests by IHS Markit’s RootMetrics across 125 U.S. areas in the first half of 2020 showed that 5G speeds on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are only slightly faster than 4G LTE. AT&T and T-Mobile, which is buying Sprint, have both claimed their 5G networks are available “nationwide,” a metric that means they can reach 200 million people, but coverage is still often sporadic and data speeds are not consistently faster.
Verizon has a much quicker 5G network that uses ultra wideband, or millimeter wave technology, but that is only live in parts of 36 cities and suffers rapid signal degradation due to its frequency.
MacDailyNews Take: 5G doesn’t really arrive until it arrives on Apple’s iPhone. Once there are 5G-capable iPhones in customers’ hands, the carriers will begin competing for the world’s most-coveted smartphone users and 5G will spread in the U.S. and around the world much more rapidly.