Think about 5G and you think about the speed – from 2x to 10x, what you get with 4G as a launch. However, after two tests of Verizon's 5G network in Chicago (19459004) and one in Dallas (19459003) with Sprint (19459004), it is clear that download speed is only the beginning of a satisfactory 5G experience. Consistency and range are just as important as incredible top speeds and lightning-fast downloads from the real world.
For example, Verizon field tests were faster overall than Sprint's, but our test with Sprint showed that overall, a larger coverage area is important. The results of these two tests do not suggest that either network is "better". At the moment, both are facing challenges and growing pains that may increase as more people begin to use the networks. Our time with these emerging networks is an important litmus for our faster future.
We are still a long way from the general 5G applications. For example, you can help self-driving cars talk to each other on the road, remotely perform operations, make error-free video calls, and play graphic-intensive games in real time. Even in the short term, you may not be able to fully feel the effects of next-generation 5G speeds until these networks are expanded, more phones are available and the price of ownership sinks. However, it is undeniable that 5G is able to exponentially accelerate your download speeds.
And now compare the Verizon and Sprint 5G tests as follows.
Read : 5G is real and Verizon, Sprint and EE have the networks to prove it. However, Verizon is the largest US network in terms of population coverage, while Sprint is currently the fourth. The strong start of Sprint with 5G nevertheless makes it an attractive trading chip in the planned merger of Sprint and T-Mobile .
If the DOJ agrees to the merger, the newly strengthened T-Mobile will have a strong competitive position over Verizon and AT & T (which has a network for 5G hotspots but has not yet invited journalists to public field trials). )
Currently running: Check out the following:
Try the 5G sprint with the LG V50
5G Cities Today : Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Kansas City
5G Phones : LG V50 Galaxy S10 5G in June
More 5G cities announced: Chicago, Los Angeles, NYC, Phoenix and Washington in "the coming weeks".
Total Area : 2,180 square miles; 11.5 Million People
Read : Live 5G coverage around the world
Verizon is more than two times faster than Sprint's top speeds.
We tested Verizon and Sprint speeds in the field in two different ways. First, use the Speedtest.net benchmarking app to measure speeds at different locations in each city. Second, we downloaded apps, movies, and TV shows to see how fast the network and phones handled real-world actions.
The highest download speeds in Chicago were faster on our second visit and more than twice as fast as Sprint's highest speed on the LG V50 in Dallas.
See the stunning real-world speeds of the Galaxy S10 5G
For reference, our fast Internet speeds at home could be in the range of 400 Mbps.
Verizon's 5G speed superiority does not stop at top speeds. Our 5G results from this recent hike to Chicago consistently exceeded 400 Mbps to over 1 Gbps, and we exceeded the 1 Gbps limit four times in a 4-hour test period. 4G speeds were also faster than we tested 5G.
This is an imperfect comparison in many ways. Verizon and Sprint use different frequencies. Verizon uses the millimeter-wave spectrum (mmWave), which achieves extremely fast speeds for a specific range. Sprint, however, uses midband frequencies covering a relatively larger range, but somewhat slower, hence the 400 Mbit / s peaks.
Tests in practice are more impressive than expected.
Top speeds are one thing, but it's very important to you how fast your shows and movies can be downloaded. We downloaded some of the same apps and shows in Chicago and Dallas to try to compare them. Of course, these are not apples for apples because we work at different times (and in one case to another season of the show) due to testing restrictions in different cities, different networks, and different phones.
Verizon 5G vs Sprint 5G
Galaxy S10 5G (Verizon)
Galaxy S10 Plus (Verizon)
LG V50 (Sprint)
LG G8 (Sprint)
PUBG Mobile (1.86 GB)
~ 3 minutes
3 minutes, 31 seconds
73 MB (3% of the file) after 3.5 minutes
Wine Country Movie (143 minutes)
Little progress after 2 minutes
3 minutes, 45 seconds *
Wonderful Mrs. Maisel, Season 1 (8 episodes)
N / A
N / A
The first episode was not downloaded after 4 minutes
Wonderful Mrs. Maisel, Season 2 (10 episodes)
~ 5 minutes
1 episode in 4 minutes
N / A
N / A
* Sprint later said there were problems at this location.
The important thing is that 5G is faster than its 4G counterpart in a way that you can really see.
Sprint beats Verizon in terms of durability
Where Sprint really gets involved in the front was throughout the city. At our test in Dallas we drove a bus and a car through the city, the download speeds were between 5G and 4G. We were able to test on the road and there was a larger area in the city and on the outskirts of Dallas, which was equipped with a cover.
In Chicago (we did not have a chance to test in Minneapolis), 5G areas behaved more like hotspots. They work best when you are within sight and 100 to 300 feet away. Supply zones are smaller and the signal is finer, easily blocked by trees, cars, raindrops – you name it.
The mmWave spectrum used by Verizon also can not penetrate indoors or through glass, so you can not benefit from it while driving or at work. Remember, 5G is still in painful early days.
This larger coverage area was evident in our Dallas tests, but again, this was a city with a specific geography, and Sprint took time to build its network. Verizon clearly hurried on the first test. This is one of the reasons why the network (and Samsung) invited journalists to the test of the Galaxy S10 5G .
What does all this mean?
Verizon has the upper hand when it comes to consistently high 5G speeds … when you can actually access the network. Sprint has shown us how a slower but wider 5G coverage can help you download more than 4G across the board.
However, these tests are still best understood as demonstrations, as they are closely monitored by the operators and only a few people are using the network at the same time. When people start flocking 5G nets in droves, this is a true test of network speed, congestion and comfort.
After all the talk, it's invigorating to see 5G networks come to life. But they still have such a long way to go.
Lynn La has contributed to this story.
Originally published on May 31 at 11:30 PT. Update, June 1 at 10:13 PT. : Added more details. Update, June 2 at 9:32 pm PT : More details added.