The data collected from 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020 by our speed test , which measures the quality of Internet connections on millions of devices yearly, shows that 5G networks in the US did not deliver the super cellular connections that we were promised.
5G download speeds across the country were only 2.7 times faster than 4G speeds. These real-world results pale in comparison with the promise of a hundred times faster connections. In some cases, 5G was even slower than 4G.
Three main reasons:
In every country around the world that has launched 5G – except the US – the C-band frequencies (that is airwaves between 3.4GHz and 4.2GHz) are at the very heart of the new technology, as they offer a great combination of good coverage and high-speed connections. In the US, most of the spectrum available in the C-band (280MHz) was not auctioned until January this year, forcing the major carriers to rely heavily on lower frequencies, which work over long distances but deliver slow speeds, or higher frequencies (mmWave), which carry far larger amount of data but on short-range signals.
When the US deemed [Chinese-owned] Huawei a national security risk, it caused many 5G deployments to be put on hold. Operators then had to take big steps backward and choose other suppliers for their network equipment, in a move that delayed the commercial launch of 5G in the country.
The majority of the initial 5G deployments in the US were Non-Stand-Alone (NSA), meaning that the new networks were aided by existing 4G infrastructures. On NSA deployments, LTE-controlled communications shift to 5G only when a device wants to exchange, resulting in a 4G-like user experience.
A great read.