Real-world 5G is 2.7x faster than 4G

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5G iPhone
The US is well ahead of the rest of the world in 5G speeds.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple fans might be underwhelmed by 5G because they’ll have to wait another year for an iPhone with this replacement for LTE, but there’s a lot to look forward to. A new study of finds that users can expect the new technology to bring download speeds that are 2.7 times faster than 4G.

US is winning 5G

OpenSignal analyzed real-world speeds in eight countries that have deployed the new standard. “The highest maximum speeds were seen by 5G users in the USA with 1815 Mbps, which is approximately three times as fast as 4G users’ maximum speed,” according to the report.

Second place is the speed race went to Switzerland with 1145 Mbps, and then S. Korea with 1071 Mbps.

Faster speeds are available in America because most carriers are using millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies. This enables the quickest transfers, but there’s a downside: it’s very short range, with little penetration into buildings. This is why 4G and Wi-Fi are expected to be around for years to come.

These are real-world results, not theoretical maximums or tests done with special equipment. “Opensignal’s tests connect our users’ smartphones to the same servers that host all the popular mobile apps and websites which all smartphone users connect to daily,” said this organization.

iPhone waiting on the post-4G world

In the US, there are just two handsets with 5G available. Apple isn’t expected to get into this game until next year, but there will be a pair iPhone models introduced in 2020 with the faster tech, according to a respected analyst.

Unlike Samsung, Apple won’t produce a special 5G version of any of its handsets. Instead, the first two devices will be the equivalents of the iPhone XS and XS Max.