5G will eventually get us to the Promised Land of game-changing connectivity. But as it stands, 5G speeds in many parts of the country are not blowing away what people are already getting on 4G networks. That is because when it comes to 5G, it is all about the spectrum and frequency bands. The fastest 5G speeds right now come by way of a technology called millimeter wave, or mmWave, and that is what Verizon initially offered.
Meanwhile, other wireless carriers were focused on fleshing out their 5G networks with lower and mid-band spectrum. Speeds are not as fast, but lower and mid-band spectrum can travel further and more easily penetrate objects.
This is where things get interesting, and unfortunately sobering for Verizon. It was only last month when Verizon began offering low-band 5G, resulting the average 5G download speed going from first place to last place among the major wireless carriers in the US.
The folks at PhoneArena say they have exclusively obtained the latest average 5G download metrics from Ookla, and in the graph they put together, you can see Verizon's sharp plummet after it flipped the switch on low-band spectrum.
That said, the ranking does not really matter a whole lot, as the difference in real-world experiences at 60.6Mbps and 76Mbps is not going to be drastic in most cases. But what this highlights is that despite claims to the contrary, 5G did not just get real. It's only getting started, and faster experiences that deliver on the true promise of 5G are still off in the distance.
5G aside, Ookla's research shows Verizon is actually the slowest mobile operator in the US. According to Ookla, mobile download speeds on Verizon's network as a whole averaged 31.4Mbps, whereas AT&T again took the top spot at 41.65Mbps.