Apple isn’t planning to launch a 5G iPhone
until 2020, but carriers in the United States and other smartphone manufacturers like Samsung are already testing 5G, which offers download speeds that are much faster than 4G.
Verizon invited MacRumors to Chicago to test its 5G network, giving us an idea of what 5G speeds will be like when we can use 5G networks on our iPhones in 2020.
Verizon has 5G in a few cities right now, in a limited number of locations, which is why we needed to visit Chicago to test it out. Verizon and other carriers are working on the 5G rollout, but it’s a slow process that’s still going to be ongoing even when 5G iPhones launch.
There are several 5G nodes scattered across Chicago right now, in the downtown area and in popular tourist areas near Willis Tower and the famous Bean.
In our testing with a 5G Android phone, we were able to hit download speeds of close to 2Gb/s, which is incredible compared to 4G LTE speeds. Near 2Gb/s was the fastest speed we saw, but since 5G is still new and still rolling out, there were inconsistencies.
Sometimes, a speed test on 5G could be under 100Mb/s, and then a retest right after would reach close to 1Gb/s. That’s not unexpected because Verizon is using mmWave 5G that’s super speedy, but can be impacted by nearby buildings, trees, windows, and sometimes, even heat from direct sunlight.
Verizon and other carriers have a lot of work to do on their 5G rollouts before 5G transfer speeds are ubiquitous, and even then, the highest speeds will be limited to urban areas due to the limitations of mmWave spectrum.
5G speeds in real world usage are impressive and are going to make the next-generation iPhones amazing. Streaming music and movies worked flawlessly, and we were even able to download an episode of Stranger Things (200 to 300MB) from Netflix in just a few seconds. PUBG, a 2Gb mobile game, downloaded nearly instantaneously on a 5G connection.
So when the 5G iPhones launch in 2020 and you’re able to connect to a 5G network, you can expect flawless streaming, super fast download speeds for movies and games, instantly loading web pages, and more.
Verizon is still working on upload speeds, which are basically still relying on 4G and not taking advantage of 5G, but eventually, uploading content will be just as speedy.
Android manufacturers are rolling out 5G smartphones this year to be first, but iPhone users aren’t likely missing much having to wait until 2020 just because 5G networks are still so limited and connectivity is still spotty as carriers like Verizon work to build out the connectivity.
Right now, Verizon is rolling out 5G to 30 cities, and it’s available in Denver, Minneapolis, Providence, St. Paul, and Chicago, where we tested. It’s not really clear what 5G pricing will be at when it’s more widely available from all of the major carriers, but Verizon is so far saying it will be a $10 add-on to unlimited plans that currently start at $85 for a single line, although Verizon is waiving that fee during the early stages of the rollout.
For more on the 5G iPhone, the benefits of 5G, and how 5G will work, make sure to check out our 5G iPhone guide.