It was a bit earlier than planned, but Verizon included parts of its 5G network today, debuting in "selected areas" of Minneapolis and Chicago. Every carrier there likes to make dice definitions to have everything "First 5G", but in terms of using a real, mmWave 5G signal and something like a 5G smartphone, Verizon has made the most progress in achieving the 5G ecosystem.
5G is still at a very early stage with access only in a few cities and virtually zero device support. So it's hard to know what will be 5G in the real world. Verizon's spokesman David Weissman has shared the best 5G look on Twitter, showing the real 5G real-life speed test, receiving data from a real 5G tower. Especially Weissmann was in Minneapolis, took out his Verizon ™ Moto Z3 phone with the attached Moto 5G Mod and loaded the application Ookla Speedtest.net. See his speed:
Excited in Minneapolis as @verizon 5G UWB makes history!
Speed Test here before US Bank Stadium
Impressive! 3 April 2019
The weissmann speed test ended with a blazing 762Mbps down and a 19mm ping (19459022]
video does not show upload speeds). Unless you shake the Internet at home, it is probably much faster than your internet connection at home. Ookla's latest aggregated speed reports link the average download speed of US mobile devices to 27Mbps, while the average fixed broadband download in the United States is at 96Mbps.
Qualcomm's current 5G modem has a theoretical maximum speed of 5Gbps, but of course nothing develops to reach the theoretical maximum. Carriers are happy to face 5G deployment and upcoming devices, but rarely see the actual numbers attached to 5G. Weissmann's test is the closest we've ever seen to see what the real 5G performance is, and today's Verizon press release states that "early customers in Chicago and Minneapolis have to expect typical download speeds of 450Mbps, at peak speeds of almost 1Gbps, and a latency of less than 30 milliseconds. "
Latency here is not big compared to previous promises of 5G. Verizon's home 5G Internet has a latency of 4-8ms, while for mobile Verizon promises only around 30ms (and shows 19ms in the speed test). According to OpenSignal testing, 4G LTE latency is typically around 54-64ms, so while this is a little improvement, it's not as fast as we expected.
Now for the list of many warnings with this video and 5G in general. Weissman's test, which has probably been pre-approved by Verizon, is conducted under ideal circumstances. First, it stands in close proximity to a 5G tower with clear visibility on a sunny day. Verizon's 5G equipment is actually visible in the video frame – all these boxes and antennas are interwoven on the lamp on the left. The real issues of 5G come in range and penetration, so if you were indoors – either on the other side of a building or if there was a tree on the road or if you were away from the tower – the performance would be significantly worse. 5G even has problems with time so in rainy or misty day productivity will suffer. 5G is all about building a network in the spectrum shed that we have not yet used for other radio signals, and the reason this spectrum is available is that the performance characteristics are very challenging.
Second great caution: there is a good chance. Weissmann was the only person on Earth to use the Verizon 5G network during this speed test. Your own tweet refers to the test as "historical," and we must assume that the 5G Verizon hardware base is active at the time the 5G network was nearby, "one person." With more people online, the network will be slower.
Third big warning: 5G hardware. 5G smartphones will be terrible for the first year as the first generation of 5G modems and antennas take up much more space and energy than our sophisticated, well-worn 4G technology. This will negatively affect the design of the phone and battery life.
The Weissmann – Moto Z3 phone with 5G MotoMod – has a good chance of being the "Worst 5G Smartphone of All Time". 5G MotoMod takes off an old smartphone, Moto Z3, and adds 5G compatibility to it through Motorola's modular system. Thanks to the state of 5G hardware, however, the 5G MotoMod is almost a whole new smartphone that is stacked on the back of your old smartphone. The 5G MotoMod has a complete SoC smartphone inside it, the Snapdragon 855. This is along with a 5G modem, its own 2000mAh battery (because 5G needs a lot of power) and a whole bunch of 5G antennas. If you can run applications on it, MotoMod will be much faster than Moto Z3 powered by Snapdragon 835.
Still, for something in the form factor smartphone, the Moto Z3 with a 5G backpack is the best that we can do now. The first fully integrated 5G smartphone should be the 5G version of Samsung Galaxy S10, which is due to appear this month in South Korea.
Despite all the warnings, it feels like a big step in anticipation of 5G. We need more coverage, more mature 5G hardware and more 5G smartphones. Even then, the unstable features of 5G make us wonder if any of this is actually worth it. In perfect conditions, however, it's pretty fast!