This article originally appeared on TechRepublic by James Sanders.
The meaning of 5G appears to have rather diluted, according to a recent report from Decluttr, finding that roughly a third of respondents state they own a 5G capable phone, despite the limited deployment of 5G networks in the US and limited number of 5G compatible phones currently on the market.
Further, 62% of those who stated they owned a 5G capable phone claimed improvements in their mobile service when using a 5G network. iPhone users were less likely to claim their phones were 5G capable, with 25% of Verizon subscribers, 34% of T-Mobile subscribers, 35% of Sprint subscribers reporting so, while 47% of AT&T subscribers believed their iPhone was 5G-capable, likely due to their branding of LTE Advanced as “5G E,” which resulted in widespread criticism, and a lawsuit from Sprint.
Samsung phone users were more likely to report that their phones were 5G capable, with 30% of Verizon subscribers and 41% of Sprint subscribers indicating such a belief, while 48% of AT&T and oddly, 51% of T-Mobile subscribers indicating a belief their phone is 5G capable.
Likewise, even if you are lucky enough to live in a city with a real 5G network deployment, actually getting to use 5G is somewhat of a challenge, as deployments are still limited to specific neighborhoods in supported cities, and 5G modems are so prone to overheating that phones are dropping back to 4G LTE service to lower temperatures and preserve the longevity of the battery, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which also noted that mobile network operators have taken to cooling smartphones with ice packs or air conditioners during testing.
Presently, T-Mobile is testing 5G on 600 MHz frequencies in Bellevue, Washington, with plans to roll out their nationwide network on that frequency. CNET tested 5G in Chicago on Verizon and Sprint, finding that “Verizon’s mmWave was much faster—it hit a download speed of 713Mbps, compared with Sprint’s 123Mbps—but Sprint’s 5G network coverage… was much better.”