Rootmetrics studies carriers and wireless technology performance, and a new study gives Los Angeles the 5G support crown over 55 cities.
The analyst company tested 55 cities throughout the US. It discovered that not all cities have 5G support. For those that do, not all cities offer 5G on all four major national carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile). Of the 55 cities tested, Los Angeles was one of the only cities to offer support for next-generation wireless across all four major carriers. That gives it a leg up on most other cities where 5G is present.
In addition to LA, Rootmetrics also found that Philadelphia offered 5G from all four major carriers during its testing.
So, how does 5G among the four major carriers stack up in Los Angeles?
Rootmetrics shows that 5G support is not all the same
It goes without saying, but it still needs to be said: not all 5G is created equal. Even in Los Angeles, where all four carriers offer it, not all carriers perform equally. In LA, Verizon's median download speed at 254.7Mbps was far ahead of T-Mobile (24.3 Mbps), AT&T (37.5 Mbps), and Sprint (61.8 Mbps).
Verizon has won 6 out of 7 RootScore Awards in the first half of 2020 for overall performance, network reliability, accessibility, speed, data performance, and call performance.
5G speeds show Verizon well ahead of the pack, but 4G speeds with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint show a much tighter race. Perhaps the same will occur with 5G once the technology matures.
4G is still quite strong
While 5G is the new wireless standard, 4G still exists and is still excellent. Among the four major carriers in LA, Verizon won the 4G download speed race with an average of 36.9 Mbps, but AT&T (35.5 Mbps) and Sprint (33.0 Mbps) weren't too far behind. T-Mobile's 16.4 Mbps average 4G download speed leaves much to be desired when compared to its three wireless rivals. Even with T-Mobile's low scores, users will still find reliability in LA.
Speed is one thing, availability another
5G speeds, as impressive as they may be, don't seem as impressive if they're not accessible. When it comes to availability in LA, Verizon sits at the bottom of the list with 0.3%. Meanwhile, all Verizon's rivals, AT&T (18.3%), Sprint (25.1%), and T-Mobile (32.1%) top Big Red when it comes to accessibility. The reason in large part pertains to Verizon's 5G spectrum. The company holds a ton of mmWave 5G, which works best across short distances and must be rolled out in small amounts.
In contrast, Sprint holds a large amount of mid-band spectrum and surpassed the number of Verizon's 5G markets last Spring. Mid-band spectrum allows Sprint to combine 4G and 5G and roll out a strong 5G network faster. Verizon's mmWave technology cost billions to deploy and takes a longer time to roll out.
And yet, Verizon has won a RootScore Award for network reliability and data and call performance. Verizon may not have a large network, but its network, when users are on it, proves its muster.
5G is what's next for the wireless industry, but Verizon seems to be leading the way in nearly everything at this point. And yet, 5G is new. Verizon is ahead, but for how long? It pays to not count the proverbial wireless wins before 5G really "hatches."