Study claims AT&T's fake 5G is slower than other carrier's regular 4G

Opensignal has a study out on carrier speeds.                  Getty Images

Opensignal has a study out on carrier speeds. Getty Images

That's actually slower than the speeds of 5GE-capable phones on Verizon and T-Mobile, which had respective download averages of 29.9 Mbps and 29.4 Mbps, respectively, according to OpenSignal.

Although the tests are unable to distinguish between LTE-Advanced and regular 4G LTE networks, OpenSignal can distinguish between phone models, which helps determine which device is running on a traditional 4G LTE network and an LTE-Advanced network.

Here's a narrative the company might find less praiseworthy. Though there wasn't a raging gulf, 5G E clocked in slower than services from Verizon and T-Mobile that use the comparable enhanced 4G technologies. Carriers that have deployed more LTE-Advanced coverage across the U.S. would likely get higher speed-test results than carriers that haven't upgraded their networks to the same extent.

It's no surprise to see that AT&T's 5GE network isn't delivering anything close to the promised faster speeds of 5G networking since 5GE doesn't use the 5G standard at all, but is rather a marketing term that AT&T is using to tout improvements to its LTE network. After comparing user-initiated speed tests from more than 1 million devices, OpenSignal found that AT&T's "5G E" phones get average speeds of 28.8Mbps, which is less than T-Mobile's 29.4Mbps and Verizon's 29.9Mbps but higher than Sprint's 20.4Mbps. While it found AT&T was providing solid speeds, an average of 28.8Mbps download rates, it offered no discernible difference when compared to most LTE networks.

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Although 5G phones haven't arrived yet, AT&T would like to convince you otherwise by advertising an upgraded version of its 4G network as "5G Evolution", or "5G E". All four carriers were tested using the same methodology.

AT&T drew criticism earlier in the year for rolling out to some phones a service it labeled a "5G E" network. Not only that, but it could also persuade some people to switch to a carrier that has the fastest 5G network in their area. Given that the company is fully committed to lying to customers, the only way to push back is to counter the narrative. Don't reward AT&T for being willing to mismarket its own products or network.

OpenSignal's testing doesn't yet tell us what speeds consumers can expect when they get real 5G. Critics, as well as rivals Verizon and T-Mobile, argued the network was more of a 4G LTE upgrade than anything else.

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