Verizon iPhone 12 users may get better speed on 4G LTE than 5G

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2020
Verizon's low-band "nationwide 5G" network delivers slower speeds on an iPhone 12 than the carrier's 4G LTE network, according to new testing.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


The carrier launched its "nationwide" 5G network in October. But the system is based on dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), which reuses 4G channels for 5G and may actually be slower than straight 4G LTE.

According to testing on an iPhone 12 Pro carried out by PC Mag, Verizon's DSS 5G is "frequently slower than 4G, and rarely faster."

That's in stark contrast to Verizon's other offerings. Its 4G LTE network often delivers faster speeds than the low-band 5G networks from either T-Mobile and AT&T. The carrier's UltraWideband 5G network is top-tier, but has extremely limited coverage.

The issue with DSS, as PC Mag points out, is that the ideal 5G network will run on broad, dedicated channels. If that isn't an option, DSS allows a carrier to use the "odds and ends" of unused 4G channels for a 5G network.

The results of Verizon 5G testing on an iPhone 12 Pro. Credit: PC Mag
The results of Verizon 5G testing on an iPhone 12 Pro. Credit: PC Mag


But that comes with tradeoffs. Both 4G and 5G phones compete for the same channel, with the 5G-equipped devices simply running a separate 5G encoding system. Once carriers actually adopt standalone 5G systems, DSS will have non-speed advantages. But currently, the only thing that the technology is doing is slowing down performance.

The iPhone 12 Pro test, conducted by PC Mag's Sascha Segan, involved toggling between 5G and 4G networks at eight different locations throughout New York City. Except for the one 5G location that had 5G UWB, DSS 5G consistently tested slower than 4G LTE.

Although DSS is meant to have lower latency, the testing found that it performed worse in that regard than LTE. One wireless expert suggested that this could be because of how phones in DSS mode handle carrier aggregation.

"For most customers, performance on our 5G nationwide network will be similar to 4G. [DSS] is new technology and we're continuing to modify it as we go. We expect performance improvement through 2021 and beyond," Verizon said in a statement.

It isn't just Verizon that's suffering from the problem. Similar testing on AT&T's low-band 5G found that the nationwide network often delivered slower performance than AT&T's 4G speeds.

The issues with DSS may not affect T-Mobile, however, since it uses a different mid-band approach to its nationwide 5G network.

Carriers could deal with the issue by pushing traffic through 4G LTE in situations where it would be faster than DSS 5G. According to Signals Research, most of the traffic on DSS 5G already travels over LTE.

Both Verizon and AT&T are also looking at mid-band 5G airwaves, known as C-Band, to boost their networks. The technology, similar to T-Mobile mid-band, would likely do away with the performance and latency issues of DSS 5G. Verizon is currently bidding for C-Band spectrum, some of which will become available by the end of 2021.

In the meantime, users can disable 5G on their iPhones by heading to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice & Data.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    How embarrassing. 
  • Reply 2 of 20
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,330member
    Pretty much proves that 5G is premature, and is 90% marketing right now.
    PetrolDavecitylightsappleITGUYINSDrazorpitJFC_PAsdw2001MplsP
  • Reply 3 of 20
    And throughout my area (Seacoast through the Lakes Region in NH), Verizon's LTE is unusable in most places. I have to keep my phone on 3G (about 1.2Mbps down) to even think about browsing the web. It's horrible. I wish I had never switched from T-Mobile.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    payecopayeco Posts: 449member
    elijahg said:
    Pretty much proves that 5G is premature, and is 90% marketing right now.
    Premature if they don’t have the spectrum for it. T-Mobile got a shitload, and I mean a shitload, of mid band spectrum when they bought Sprint. They’re rolling it out nationwide as we speak and it’s pretty incredible. Ping times lower than my cable internet at home with download speeds consistently greater than 500Mbps and uploads consistently 100Mbps or more. I’ve been connected to it non-stop all over the NYC area since I got my 12 Pro Max so the market is fully covered.
    baconstangITGUYINSDsdw2001
  • Reply 5 of 20
    payecopayeco Posts: 449member
    rs0212 said:
    And throughout my area (Seacoast through the Lakes Region in NH), Verizon's LTE is unusable in most places. I have to keep my phone on 3G (about 1.2Mbps down) to even think about browsing the web. It's horrible. I wish I had never switched from T-Mobile.
    Switch back. They’re giving away free lines like it’s going out of style and the 5G is great. I’ve gotten 4 free lines between July and now. I don’t need them but I’ll sure as hell take them if they’re giving them away. They’re running a free line promotion right now. If you bring over two paid voice lines you’ll get one free. If you’re already a customer and have at least two paid voice lines you can still get one for free.
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 6 of 20
    5G is in its infancy and will take a few years to rev up. Buy the iphone for the phone not 5G
    My office is 100 feet from an mmwave tower and even outside the best connection is 300mb, which is rare
    entropys
  • Reply 7 of 20
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,035member
    T-Mobile has the same problem.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    bushman4 said:
    5G is in its infancy and will take a few years to rev up. Buy the iphone for the phone not 5G
    My office is 100 feet from an mmwave tower and even outside the best connection is 300mb, which is rare
    👍
  • Reply 9 of 20
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,216member
    payeco said:
    elijahg said:
    Pretty much proves that 5G is premature, and is 90% marketing right now.
    Premature if they don’t have the spectrum for it. T-Mobile got a shitload, and I mean a shitload, of mid band spectrum when they bought Sprint. They’re rolling it out nationwide as we speak and it’s pretty incredible. Ping times lower than my cable internet at home with download speeds consistently greater than 500Mbps and uploads consistently 100Mbps or more. I’ve been connected to it non-stop all over the NYC area since I got my 12 Pro Max so the market is fully covered.
    I hope this type of coverage gets to where I am in the country ASAP ( Northeast PA ) because TMobile service in my area is spotty and building penetration is a joke. There are areas around town that show full bars of 5G on my 12 Pro Max and then a block away there is no service? I have had to switch cellular data off and back in some areas to try and help get my music playing and GPS working again while at a stop light. I was really hoping that the switch to 5G and the acquisition of Sprint would help the dreadful building penetration ( it hasn't ) and overall coverage.. so far I am still waiting. I am not in the middle of nowhere PA and coverage and data speed weren't an issue for me when I was using AT&T.

    razorpit
  • Reply 10 of 20
    I never signed up for 5G when I got my 12 pro, not paying extra for zero improvement. 
    MplsP
  • Reply 11 of 20
    Experience with  Verizon 5G and my iPhone 12 Pro  in the greater NYC area has been mostly positive. Verizon provided a 5G SIM card and I can use 5G (without ultra wide band)  at no extra cost.  While I have seen the switching back and forth between 5G and LTE with mediocre performance in a few locations, I have seen amazing performance in most places.  On the NJ Turnpike I got > 200 Mbps in some spots with 120-200 Mbps as typical values.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 247member
    payeco said:
    elijahg said:
    Pretty much proves that 5G is premature, and is 90% marketing right now.
    Premature if they don’t have the spectrum for it. T-Mobile got a shitload, and I mean a shitload, of mid band spectrum when they bought Sprint. They’re rolling it out nationwide as we speak and it’s pretty incredible. Ping times lower than my cable internet at home with download speeds consistently greater than 500Mbps and uploads consistently 100Mbps or more. I’ve been connected to it non-stop all over the NYC area since I got my 12 Pro Max so the market is fully covered.
    Also available to ALL plans and their MVNOs, like Mint mobile.   I finally dumped Verizon when the 5G didn’t work very well.  I am able easily exceed 100 Mbps on Mint, with a fairly weak signal, and AFAICT, mid band has not been deployed in my area yet. Only issue w Mint is lack of Watch support.  
  • Reply 13 of 20
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    payeco said:
    elijahg said:
    Pretty much proves that 5G is premature, and is 90% marketing right now.
    Premature if they don’t have the spectrum for it. T-Mobile got a shitload, and I mean a shitload, of mid band spectrum when they bought Sprint. They’re rolling it out nationwide as we speak and it’s pretty incredible. Ping times lower than my cable internet at home with download speeds consistently greater than 500Mbps and uploads consistently 100Mbps or more. I’ve been connected to it non-stop all over the NYC area since I got my 12 Pro Max so the market is fully covered.
    I recently switched to T-Mobile from AT&T. I'm disappointed in the coverage in up-state NY. We visited family there over Thanksgiving and I had to get the wi-fi password almost anywhere I went. I doubt 5G coverage would be any better up there, but I'm on an older XS so I can't test. With that said AT&T was surprisingly bad in years past when we ventured in to the city.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member

    dcgoo said:
    payeco said:
    elijahg said:
    Pretty much proves that 5G is premature, and is 90% marketing right now.
    Premature if they don’t have the spectrum for it. T-Mobile got a shitload, and I mean a shitload, of mid band spectrum when they bought Sprint. They’re rolling it out nationwide as we speak and it’s pretty incredible. Ping times lower than my cable internet at home with download speeds consistently greater than 500Mbps and uploads consistently 100Mbps or more. I’ve been connected to it non-stop all over the NYC area since I got my 12 Pro Max so the market is fully covered.
    Also available to ALL plans and their MVNOs, like Mint mobile.   I finally dumped Verizon when the 5G didn’t work very well.  I am able easily exceed 100 Mbps on Mint, with a fairly weak signal, and AFAICT, mid band has not been deployed in my area yet. Only issue w Mint is lack of Watch support.  
    That alone kept me from switching to Mint. Wonder why they don't support esim?
  • Reply 15 of 20
    I'm on TMobile in Alabama and have been really pleased with the 5G coverage in my area since upgrading to a 12 Pro Max.  My iPhone 8 Plus on 4G LTE could get about 40Mbps down with a good signal.  But some buildings such as our supermarket would really block signal unless you were near the entrance.  This 5G penetrates buildings much better and sitting in my house on 5G, I've seen download speeds of 220Mbps.  It's nothing to get 170 or so.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    We are in a limited 5G Verizon network area and that gives me the chance to test LTE vs 5G regularly as I cross into different zones of service. Around our house LTE delivers ~ 40 Mbs down 3 up, but just a mile south on the lake front of Lake Michigan I’ve seen 110 Mb down and 30 up, also LTE.  In a 5G area I’ve seen as high as 95 Mb down and 20 up. So, yeah. Nothing to write home about. 
  • Reply 17 of 20
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    I'm on TMobile in Alabama and have been really pleased with the 5G coverage in my area since upgrading to a 12 Pro Max.  My iPhone 8 Plus on 4G LTE could get about 40Mbps down with a good signal.  But some buildings such as our supermarket would really block signal unless you were near the entrance.  This 5G penetrates buildings much better and sitting in my house on 5G, I've seen download speeds of 220Mbps.  It's nothing to get 170 or so.
    I thought the opposite was true?
  • Reply 18 of 20
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,673member
    As much as I bag on ATT, I have to say that their actual 5G (not 5Ge) has decent coverage and seems quite fast (I haven’t tested it).  I am still in and out of 5G between work and home in Southeast Pennsylvania. I still don’t think it’s really ready for prime time on pretty much any carrier. It’s mostly marketing right now  
  • Reply 19 of 20
    idreyidrey Posts: 647member
    Yeah I’ve notice that from day one. This so call 5g is a joke. We are so behind in the 5g world is not even funny. And the sad thing is that they try to disguise 4g as 5g just so they try to full people. All this companies really need to step up and get their shit right. Verizon is one of the most expensive companies and their services is getting worse instead of better. Really horrible service with Verizon lately. And their 5g is a total joke. 
  • Reply 20 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,268member
    So where are all the people who have been hollering for the last 2 years about how Apple was doomed if they didn't add 5G and 5G was the future and '5G is here now!' (posted in 2019.)

    Is there anything that you can do on 5G that you can't do on 4G currently? Aside from download stuff slower, that is. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
Sign In or Register to comment.