5g logoAT&T subscribers with phones capable of using the carrier’s 5G Evolution capabilities receive higher speeds, on average, in comparison with AT&T subscribers that do not have 5G Evolution, or 5G E phones, according to new research from OpenSignal. AT&T 5G Evolution speeds averaged 28.8 Mbps for those customers with 5G E-capable phones, in comparison with 18.2 Mbps for all other AT&T customers. But there is an important caveat.

Customers of other carriers that use the same 5G E-capable phones receive average speeds comparable with those of AT&T customers using those phones. T-Mobile scored 29.4 Mbps for 5G E-capable phones and 19.4 Mbps for others. Verizon was at 29.9 Mbps for 5G E phones and 19.4 Mbps for others. Finally, Sprint had speeds of 20.4 Mbps for 5G E phones and 16.3 Mbps with other phones.

The issue is important as consumers try to sort through the various claims made about 5G. AT&T’s 5G Evolution is the company’s spin on LTE-Advanced technology, featuring 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and 3-way carrier aggregation to achieve faster mobile broadband performance. 5G E is an interim step between the initial version of LTE and 5G, and its positioning as a 5G technology by AT&T has raised the hackles of competitors.

Source: Opensignal

“What Opensignal’s data shows is the extent to which LTE, or 4G, networks have improved since LTE’s original launch,” said an Opensignal blog post about the AT&T 5G Evolution speeds data. “Technologies like carrier aggregation — where two or more bands are used to simultaneously connect a user’s smartphone — 256 QAM or 4×4 MIMO, which together are normally called LTE Advanced Pro, offer a much faster experience than the initial version of 4G that was launched back in 2009-2011.”

The other takeaway from the study, of course, is that consumers and business should carefully study what a carrier is offering. Simply having the term “5G” in the name of a service doesn’t mean that it uses standards-based 5G technology.

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4 thoughts on “Study: Sizing Up AT&T 5G Evolution – Does it Deliver a Faster Mobile Experience Worthy of a 5G Description?

  1. Other carriers have been using carrier aggregation, MIMO, and other technologies to offer their customers higher data speeds for years, and AT&T has only recently gotten around to using them, so branding them as "5Ge" is a completely desperate attempt to hide that fact. AT&T's site here gives this indicator on capable phones, but the data rate is no different from what you can get on plain-jane LTE from all the other carriers that serve the area, and is less than what T-Mobile offers with their carrier aggregation, so they are wasting their time with this false advertising and are rightfully being called out for it.

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