Verizon's new 4G bands beat its 5G network speeds, and iPhones may be to blame
Verizon's 5G network recently fell from "nation's fastest" grace as Big Red started moving from its speedy mmWave Ultrawide Band buildout that covers a few city blocks at a time, to deploying lower bands that cover much more ground but are way slower.
Thus, the average speed of Verizon's 5G network fell dramatically from the record highs it enjoyed before, albeit in a very limited footprint, and passed the "fastest 5G" award to AT&T in Q4, and then to T-Mobile's low- and mid-band 5G network earlier this year.
Verizon's 4G LTE vs 5G network speeds
Verizon, however, doesn't seem all that worried about falling behind on its low- and mid-band 5G network deployment compared to T-Mobile, as it has the most robust 4G LTE network to fall back on, resulting in the fastest median speeds in the nation on last check, and with much greater coverage.
Sascha Segan from PCMag just empirically proved yet again by pitting Verizon's newfangled 4G and 5G network technologies in a download speed battle.That doesn't mean that its 5G deployment is without hiccups, though, as our friend
Verizon's current CBRS 4G vs 5G Ultrawide Band vs 5G DSS network technology speeds (image via PCMag.com)
What you are seeing above is pretty self-explanatory - those Verizon 4G LTE speeds are so good, you might not care about its 5G connection, lowband or highband - but they merit a little discussion.
As Sascha Segan has pointed out in the report, the 4G CBRS network speeds will be available to your phone if you have the LTE 48 band on it, which is most phones in the past couple of years.
Not active on iPhones, though, and perhaps that is why Verizon is keeping its CBRS band on the down 4G low for now, even though it can be combined to boost its 5G speeds and coverage. Even the Galaxy S21 models that support both 4G LTE 48 and 5G n48 bands would have trouble
Speaking of 5G, its mmWave Ultrawide Band buildout delivers the usual breathtaking 3Gbps+ download speeds, as you can see above, but only in very limited areas, while the new 5G DSS seems to be just there for the range and the 5G icon bragging rights, as it delivers slower speeds.
All in all, until Verizon upgrades its site's firmware to merge the 5G DSS and 4G CBRS speeds, that "5G" notation at the top right of your phone's screen will mean very little if you are outside of Verizon's mmWave UWB coverage. In the meantime, try to score a phone that can support both the LTE 48 and the 5G n48 bands (like the Galaxy S21 series), if you want to be golden when you are around Verizon's newer network deployment efforts.
Still, those C-bands apparently hold a promising future for Big Red's wider 5G network plans, and Verizon gobbled $45 billion worth of them in the latest FCC auction, so expect a lot of "best" and "fastest" network claims movers and shakers later this year.