What difference can make a few weeks. Last month, I came to Chicago to start Verizon's 5G network, which is now available both here and in Minneapolis. The first 5G unit was the Motorola 5G MotoMod Moto Z3, and my experience – and that of many other technology journalists – was less than positive: 5G reporting was extremely hard to find. Speeds were noticeably faster than LTE, but not evil.
Today, however, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will be released for $ 1,400, which will be available exclusively to Verizon for a short time before switching to other vendors. And now that there's a real, real 5G phone in his network, Verizon has got things started. The range is still extremely limited: it varies greatly and block by block.
But if you find a good place, it's amazing. I just did a speed test that was 1
Verizon's 5G network download speeds now look like a real next-generation leap over current LTE performance. Exceeding 700 Mbps is very typical, and exceeding this gigabit marker can occur regularly if you are near one of the operator's 5G nodes using millimeter-wave technology to get the faster download rates ,
I'm still running around in Chicago and testing things out, but here are a few short tests I've done:
- The pilot episode of The Office was made by Netflix in "high" quality downloaded in eight seconds. This is not a typo.
- I removed Marvel's Iron Man 2 in "best" quality in 90 seconds from the Amazon Prime Video app.
Iron Man 2 in "best" quality downloaded in 90 seconds from Prime Video. You can see here that the Verizon network occasionally used 4G LTE. I'm right across from the 5G node. pic.twitter.com/TAh2YgmzwD
– Chris Welch (@chriswelch) May 16, 2019
When looking at the download speed you must also take into consideration what's on the other page. Are the servers and CDNs of your preferred streaming services optimized for this performance level of the mobile network? Maybe for home broadband. But we are entering a new era of potential for the devices in our pocket.
Let me balance out this excitement a bit: 5G's deployment will take years to reach the same level of saturation and coverage that LTE currently has. Millimeter-wave technology alone will not be enough: the indoor coverage of Verizon's 5G network is basically nonexistent, and that's a big problem. Currently, uploads to LTE are limited to Verizon's 5G network. Tethering with the Galaxy S10 5G is not yet supported (at 5G speeds), which is annoying.
The speed drops rapidly when you go down the block from any 5G node, and the 5G signal is basically gone as soon as you lose the line of sight. It is amazing that the 5G icon is only displayed if your phone is actively using data. At all other times 4G will be displayed. This makes it difficult to tell exactly when you are leaving a 5G coverage area. How convenient for a very young network! As impressive as these speeds are, keep in mind that there is hardly anyone in Verizon's 5G network at the moment. What will happen to these 1 Gbps speed tests when a significant number of 5 Gbps devices are actually purchased? All this is to say that buying a $ 1,400 cell phone like the Galaxy S10 5G, if the cover stays so stained, still seems pretty stupid to me.
But damn it's fast. And those speeds that Verizon reaches in Chicago and Minneapolis will only make the company's rivals come onto the same playing field. Unfortunately my time with the S10 5G will be rather limited; Although the device is commercially available today, Verizon and Samsung are limiting the printer to just a few hours. I wish both companies would reconsider, as this gradually feels like another network. A real 5G. Even if it's on one street and the next, I've never seen anything so fast.