5G download speeds aren't worth their price premium (results)

5G download speeds aren't worth their price premium (results)
The OnePlus 7 Pro 5G just went on sale in the UK last week, and the real-life download speeds in the initial user tests turned out commensurate with the peak speeds achieved on commercial 4G LTE networks. The other notable advantages of 5G networks such as low latency and less congestion aren't that visible for the average user, and that is why we asked you if you think that the speeds that the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G managed to produce are worth the difference in plan and phone prices.

Unfortunately, about two thirds of our respondents think that paying more for the 5G privilege doesn't seem to be worth it right now, in light of the test results. In the US, Sprint went out and lit up its 5G areas last week, but boasted about coverage, while noting that the average download speeds are expected to be above 100 Mbps. 

That's still a lot faster than the average 4G speeds in the US, and yet the phones that can take advantge of the scarce 5G presence are few and far between, which may explain our poll results you see below.

Do these OnePlus 7 Pro 5G download speeds justify the price difference?

While it may have come as a surprise for OnePlus fans that two very different models were just released - the 7 and 7 Pro - it shouldn't have been for everyone that has followed the recent developments in flagships and 5G-capable phones. 

Apple issued three phone models at once last year, Samsung followed suit with four, including a 5G version, and Huawei has three members of the new P30 family, while LG makes do with "just" two models as well.

That's exactly the strategy that OnePlus seems to be pursuing, equipping the 7 Pro with not only a 5G modem version, but also a huge battery and a unique selling point in the form of a high-res display that sports 90Hz refresh rate, up from the usual 60 frames per second on most phones.

The aforementioned OnePlus 7 Pro 5G will be exclusively sold by the EE carrier in the UK, and its 5G network rollout just went live yesterday, along with the phone. The prices for the OnePlus 7 Pro and its current versions are now as follows:

  • 6GB RAM/128GB storage: $670 in US / £649 in the UK

  • 8GB/256GB storage: $700 in US / £699 in the UK

  • 12GB/256GB storage: $750 in US / £799 in the UK

  • OnePlus 7 Pro 5G model: n/a in the US/~£999 in the UK, starting from £59/month with a 10GB 5G plan and £170 down payment

  • Suggested OnePlus 7 Pro 5G plan: £69/month with a 30GB 5G plan and a £50 down payment

Compared to the other 5G pjhones on the network, like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G or the LG V50, it's about 20% cheaper, and on par with the pricing of the other Chinese 5G juggernaut there, the Oppo Reno 5G

While you can grab the 7 Pro 5G for about a grand ($1250) and bring it to the EE network, it won't be as optimized for 5G connectivity compared to the carrier model and that one isn't sold without a plan, so pick your poison. What kind of speeds do you get for this kind of dough?

Well, EE's 5G network is more extensive than Verizon's offering here in the US, as it covers the hot spots throughout London and other major UK cities and yet is far from comprehensive coverage. Besides London, the 5G lights will be turned on in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Manchester this year, followed by Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. EE 's goal is to have more than 1500 5G sites available by the end of the year.

People have been posting their 5G download speed results with the UK's first 5G handset that is commercially available to buy, and some have experienced peak speeds of just under a gig. Most have been reporting half that amount, with the average speeds being about 200Mbps and change. 

That's still way faster than their average 4G LTE speeds, but let's not forget that their OnePlus 7 Pro has been the only 5G phone currently on the network at places, as there simply aren't other 5G phone out there. The phone switches in and out of the 5G network effortlessly, turning into a 4G LTE machine where the 5G blanket is not available.

Users also didn't notice any significantly higher toll on battery life, which is an encouraging sign, as these early 5G phones don't have a true integrated chipset but rather tack on extra power-hungry modems to hook up to the nascent next-gen networks.



1. 7thlvl

Posts: 60; Member since: Dec 09, 2018

5Gs premium price tag for plans and hardware is a joke. 4G speeds are enough for whatever high speed internet you need out and about. MOST cell carriers limit how much high speed internet you use anyway. If you think they don't you are wrong and will run into throttling eventually. So now I can reach my data caps and get throttled faster, thanks 5G /s


Posts: 160; Member since: Aug 06, 2017

I have 55GB if LTE. No throttling. I’d pay extra for 5G.

2. superguy

Posts: 476; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Download speeds and bragging to enhance one's epeen aren't worth the significant premium IMO. So you downloaded that app or video a few seconds faster. Big deal. LTE speeds have been just fine for me for the most part. I haven't been wanting for more speed unlike with 3G. Right now, there's no killer app for 5G. Until there is, 5G gets a big MEH from me.

3. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 203; Member since: May 29, 2019

Figures. 4G LTE is still not where it should be in 2019, for almost a decade now. Watch 5G be another gimmick no one will pay for, at least in its first four to six years.

4. Vulpecula

Posts: 11; Member since: Apr 12, 2019

5G is actually faster than 4G. And not that expensive compared to 4G (At least at my region). So I have nothing to say with 5G plans. But talking about 5G handsets, don't buy it. Plans are affordable, but paying more than 1000$ in 5G phones just doesn't worth it.

5. geordie8t1

Posts: 322; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

This is the same with each new gen connection, the jump from 3g to 4g was inane at first until the most networks switched it on, and back then you were paying like £50 for 6gb of 4G but that was 10 years ago, £55 for 10gb is way cheaper then £50 10 years ago

6. ssallen

Posts: 218; Member since: Oct 06, 2017

This "article" sponsored by Apple computers.

7. Tipus

Posts: 913; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

"5G download speeds aren't worth their price premium untill iphone 5g will be released" FTFY :))


Posts: 58; Member since: Oct 25, 2018

You paying premium for early access, later when the tech is more mature and nation wide coverage prices would go down

10. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1354; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

I thought 5G was going to result in cheaper data.

11. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

I'm in a city that supports 5G and I couldn't care less. Most of the UK has rubbish 4G as it is, the promise of 5G means very little to me.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless