T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G service went live on Friday, and reports and reviews from early adopters are now rolling in.
While T-Mobile has promoted that their 5G service will be significantly faster than LTE (although not as fast as Verizon’s or AT&T’s 5G service, due to the frequencies being used), initial reports indicate that the real-world performance may not actually be dramatically better than LTE. A reviewer from CNET testing the service in New York City reported 5G download speeds between 20Mbps and 50Mbps, with some peaks above 100Mbps, but noted that his LTE speeds at the same locations were very similar. Their tester in Maui reported slightly more exciting results, regularly seeing 5G download speeds 100Mbps with peaks of 256Mbps, while their LTE speeds averaged lower and peaked at just 131Mbps.
For comparison, users of Verizon’s 5G network in New York often see speeds of 1Gbps outdoors. However, the coverage is poor and users can only access that type of service in a very limited range. T-Mobile’s 5G coverage and building penetration is much better, with users reporting similar 5G speeds indoors vs outdoors and no trouble maintaining connection as they moved around town.
T-Mobile’s 5G coverage seems to be living up to the company’s promises, which is a big advantage over other carriers. With regard to speed, though, it may not be worth upgrading from an LTE device just yet.