Reality Check: More Network Tests and What the Future of 5G Will Actually Look Like

Mobile Industry News for the Week of February 20, 2017

RootMetrics released its semiannual network study this week that ranked Verizon on top in terms of overall network performance during the second half of 2016. This comes after OpenSignal recently ranked T-Mobile and Verizon as top network providers in its own testing. As carriers continue to compete for the top spot in fastest network speeds, consumers may start to consider what the future of high speed wireless (5G) looks like. According to WIRED, this will likely include unbelievably speedy Wi-Fi, delivery drones, and self-driving cars. The stories on our minds are below.

More Network Tests — The “game of phones” continues, according to CNET. This week, Verizon ranked highest for the seventh consecutive time in RootMetrics’ network testing results, with AT&T coming in second. These results are based on 3.7 million tests that take place in different locations across the country and measure for reliability, speed, data, calling, and texting. OpenSignal, which uses more of a crowdfunded approach by taking samples from customers, also released test results recently that put T-Mobile and Verizon in the lead. For carriers clinging on to competitive gains, a strong test performance could make all the difference.

The 5G Primer — Carriers can’t stop talking about 5G, but what does it actually mean for consumers? This week, WIRED published an article that describes how 5G will be much more than just a symbol in the top corner of your phone screen. It’s going to fuel the internet of things like self-driving cars and drones, while also offering faster Wi-Fi speeds — according to a Verizon spokesperson, 5G will enable you to download Lord of the Rings within seconds. 5G will operate off of a high-frequency spectrum called the millimeter wave spectrum, which can transfer bigger bundles of data. Because 5G is more easily blocked by obstacles like buildings, carriers will need to set up more antennas all over (even on our devices). While there’s been lots of talk about 5G testing and deployment by 2020, there’s still a lot of innovation that needs to happen.

What news stories are on your minds this week? We’d love to hear what stories you’re dialing into.