Trying AT&T’s Fake 5G

– Hey guys, this is Austin After years of using 4G, 5G networks are just starting to roll out

And with that we should be able to see proper gigabit-class speeds But if you owned a flagship in the last couple years you might have noticed something strange, a 5G E logo So, have you been using a 5G phone this entire time without realizing it? Yeah, no Like 4G before it, 5G is not as straightforward as it might seem There are several competing 5G standards being built out right now

For example, here in LA you can sign up for Verizon's 5G home service This is using an early version of 5G, which according to Verizon is good for up to 20 times the speed of LTE And in the real world, delivers about 300 megabits per second down Although theoretically, it can go up to 940 megabytes, completely wirelessly That's actually pretty good

And it shows how 5G can be used, not only for your phone and for your laptop and tablet, but also it can be used to completely replace a standard home internet line So putting aside for a second that this isn't true 5G just yet, there is a ton of potential here The final 5G spec calls for a theoretical maximum of 20 gigabits per second Although realistically, it's going to be much closer to one gigabit But that is still a huge huge bump over what we have today

That brings us to 5G E Now this is short for 5G Evolution and it is what AT&T is calling 5G Although spoiler alert, it's not 5G So to give you a better idea of what 5G E is, we have a little bit of an example So, this is Pikachu

And for this reference we'll call him 5G As you can see, he's very cheery, he's very happy All good, right? Well, this is Mimikyu Now, on the service looks very similar to Pikachu, except that he's really LTE with some weird drawings on his face Clearly not the same thing

Are you following? Maybe I should explain this little bit better So if you take a look at the AT&T site, they describe 5G E as quote, "The first step on the road to 5G" So it does support some additional technologies that come with LTE Advanced Such as four-by-four as well as some better streaming and better compression But generally speaking, this is not 5G even though they're slapping that 5G badge all over it

And if this all sounds familiar then you would be right Back with AT&T was transitioning from 3G to 4G, they sent out an update to their phones to change the badge to say 4G when it was actually still on 3G Yeah, they're doing that one again So based on all of this, it seems pretty clear to me that 5G E is not going to deliver a true next-gen experience But to be fair, I think it's time to put it to the test

So let's see if we can actually track down a 5G E phone and see how it actually performs That was fun So, did not get a phone But we got some interesting information They did confirm that it does support 5G

So I think the main phone I'm looking for is the V40 Everything that I've read up until now seems to show that that actually is one of the phones that does show the 5G badge Unfortunately the store didn't get many V40s and they shipped them all back because they didn't sell them Oh thank you, I appreciate it So, we have an LG V40 that supports full 5G E, at least I hope it does

Now, I have to put a SIM card in here and hope that 5G shows up and I can actually test to see if it's any good or whether I just spent $950 on a phone that won't work So, it is time to put a AT&T's 5G network to the test So the first bottleneck is that we actually might not have 5G E service here at the office I'm hopeful that we will but they don't really exactly have a whole lot of information about it So I'm gonna put a SIM card in with actual data

All right, so it shows we're on AT&T on LTE, which is the correct thing because we should be on LTE But I wanna see if this actually will show us 5G E This V40 does have an update released on January 4th Oh, excellent, here we go, what's new 5G Evolution indicator support added

Okay, so there is an update for the phone that specifically changes the indicator to 5G Evolution Now the question is, why doesn't it wanna download? So we got the phone up to date but unfortunately it still shows 4G LTE Now, this should theoretically show 5G The main issue is that there's not 5G service here at the office So the next step is to track down 5G so we actually can test to see, even though it's probably gonna be the same

This isn't going to be a definitive test, but all I want to know is this Does 5G E make any difference whatsoever? So after taking a closer look at the 5G E coverage areas, one of the major spots that they do have listed is Los Angeles So we're here in Hollywood to see exactly whether or not this is going to work Oh, oh, 5G E, we got it I actually legitimately did not think that was gonna work

So what's really interesting is if you look at the actual network page, what you'll see is even though it says 5G E it still says LTE here because that's what it really is I guess the first test is just to see how fast it is So, 46 down and 16 up Hardly a gigabit like they had promised

Now on the other side I have the iPhone 10R Now this is a phone which actually is listed on AT&T's site as 5G E compatible But if you take a look, I have four bars of LTE, not 5G It's the same thing But let's see if there's actually a difference

Oh wow (laughs breathlessly) Are you serious? (laughs breathlessly) Are you trying to tell me that 5G is slower? To be clear, these phones are both on AT&T There's no difference in any way, except that this one is like 10 times faster on the download 29, 31, 35 Are these settings the same? Now we've gotta try like another site or something

So because that seems very suspicious, I'm going to try the standard Google Speed Test to just see what we get All right, what have we got? Oh, there we go Okay, that makes a lot more sense We're seeing way faster speeds on 5G E, which makes sense if you think about it The 10R has a two-by-two LTE antenna versus the four-by-four antenna on the V40

Okay, let's do it one more time Ready, set There we go, yeah It's consistently pulling ahead, this time actually by a lot more So the iPhone still does have a little bit of an advantage on the upload

But I mean the download is a big difference, 5G is delivering almost double the speed Now whether or not that's worthy of the 5G badge, I'm not so sure I mean realistically the goal for 5G, proper 5G, is over 10 times this speed So the fact that it's a little bit faster than LTE, it makes sense So, what did we learn? 5G E is just another name for LTE Advanced

And while it is faster, you shouldn't go drop everything to buy a 5G E-enabled phone True 5G is right around the corner

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