AT&T’s 5GE Is Largely Marketing Hype
AT&T recently rolled out a limited 5G Evolution (5GE) network in Minneapolis in combination with its sponsorship of the Final Four. We tested the network and found only modest improvements in network speeds. Given AT&T’s 5GE marketing hype, we’re disappointed with the performance but remain optimistic about the potential of true 5G. This will, however, take time, and we expect to wait until the end of 2022 until the US achieves 75% coverage. The takeaways from our network test:
- AT&T 5GE had 17% faster downloads, and 6% faster uploads compared to AT&T’s LTE network.
- This compares to AT&T’s marketing, which suggests speeds can be up to 100% faster than its LTE offering.
- T-Mobile’s LTE network had comparable download speeds to
5GE. However, T-Mobile’s upload speed was 56% faster than 5GE.
The Significance of True 5G
4G seems fast enough, so why do we need 5G’s 100x faster promise? It’s not just about speed, it’s also about latency. Data will be delivered instantaneously. At first, the use cases will be subtle, like instant app downloads and 4K video streaming. The mobile phone experience will be better, but won’t be revolutionary. Over time, that will change. Real-time data will allow new phone designs, new apps, off-device storage, processing in the cloud for AI applications, game streaming, and other compute-intensive mobile use cases. The smartphone is just one area that will benefit from low-latency, high-speed data. 5G will enable or vastly improve augmented reality, wireless virtual reality, countless IoT and smart home applications, autonomous vehicles, and V2X communication, to name a few.
The 5 Year 5G Transition
It’s important to note that the rollout of 5G will take time. We expect it won’t be until the end of 2022 before 75% of the US population will have 5G service.
Disclaimer: We actively write about the themes in which we invest or may invest: virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics. From time to time, we may write about companies that are in our portfolio. As managers of the portfolio, we may earn carried interest, management fees or other compensation from such portfolio. Content on this site including opinions on specific themes in technology, market estimates, and estimates and commentary regarding publicly traded or private companies is not intended for use in making any investment decisions and provided solely for informational purposes. We hold no obligation to update any of our projections and the content on this site should not be relied upon. We express no warranties about any estimates or opinions we make.