AT&T's 5G Evolution has data speeds slower than 4G LTE

OpenSignal data

OpenSignal data

Opensignal, a company that looks into mobile network performance, on Friday published a study comparing the speeds of AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile. However, the speed tests from OpenSignal seems to indicate that isn't the case. And even on phones not compatible with AT&T's 5GE signal, it was Verizon and T-Mobile tied at the top with data speeds of 19.4Mbps each followed by AT&T's 18.2Mbps and Sprint's 16.3Mbps. The initiative changed the 4G LTE connection icons on some devices to read 5G E, which of course heavily implies that a customer is connected to a 5G network. Though there wasn't a raging gulf, 5G E clocked in slower than services from Verizon and T-Mobile that use the comparable enhanced 4G technologies. It is a real upgrade over the older portions of AT&T's 4G network, but that's true for all four carriers. The only advantage over other carriers would be the breadth of AT&T's coverage, which would be reflected in OpenSignal's crowdsourced testing if AT&T had a larger LTE-Advanced footprint than other carriers. "Bottom line, if one service is offering a meaningful boost over another, it probably should be labeled differently, just not with a name that confuses customers".

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But as OpenSignal's numbers show, so have AT&T's competitors, only they use the less confusing LTE Advanced label for their networks. The report is based on tests on 1,057,522 devices nationwide, across all four carriers, between January 28 and February 26. They were unable to distinguish between LTE-Advanced and regular 4G LTE networks, but AT&T is already refuting the claims. Opensignal says they are able to distinguish between phone models and this test compared the phones that AT&T says are 5G E-capable to those that aren't. If the topic comes up, tell friends and family that AT&T's 5G "E" isn't 5G at all, and not to waste their time or money on the concept. But if you know anyone who's confused by AT&T's misleading marketing, now you've got some data to help clear things up. The devices get slower speeds on Sprint, but so do non-5G E devices (represented with the orange bar), which suggests that Sprint's network is just slower overall (which data from many sources confirms). It did at least manage to beat Sprint, which isn't saying much, considering Sprint has been the last-place network in the U.S. for quite some time. As you can see, those devices get slightly better speeds on both T-Mobile and Verizon.

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