Final week, AT&T proudly topped itself as “the nation’s quickest wi-fi community,” buoyed by pace checks from Ookla and its misleadingly named 5G E — i.e., LTE — community. However there’s only one downside: as Ookla has taken the time to level out in a weblog publish, AT&T’s declare isn’t practically as resounding of a victory as the corporate has declared.
Now, it’s true that AT&T did have the quickest general imply cell broadband speeds in America in Q1 2019. However taken as a complete for the quarter, AT&T’s common obtain pace was 34.65 Mbps — solely marginally higher than T-Cell’s 34.11 Mbps common speeds, or Verizon’s 33.07 Mbps.
It’s a part of an upward development for AT&T, which has spent the final 12 months with dramatically slower speeds than rivals T-Cell and Verizon, for a quite simple motive: the corporate was far slower to undertake the newer LTE applied sciences (issues like MIMO — a number of antennas arrays — and service aggregation) than its rivals have been. As AT&T’s community caught up, so did its relative pace checks, to the purpose the place issues are actually as soon as once more neck and neck, as seen in Ookla’s chart.
Evaluate that with the chart AT&T launched final week, although, charting weekly speeds all through Q1 2019. For a lot of the quarter, issues are nonetheless neck and neck, however within the closing week, AT&T’s speeds shoot up. Was AT&T’s community instantly dramatically quicker than the competitors? As Ookla explains, no.
As an alternative, the corporate notes that “Within the closing week of Q1, we additionally noticed a rise in quicker checks taken on AT&T’s community. Upon investigation, we found that this correlated with the discharge of iOS 12.2 and the roll out of AT&T’s 5G E icon.” And as Ookla instructed The Verge final week, the elevated variety of pace checks got here particularly following the discharge of iOS 12.2 (which added AT&T’s 5G E icon) and particularly from iPhone XR, XS Max, XS, X, 8, and eight Plus units (the telephones that now show 5G E service on AT&T).
In different phrases, iPhone prospects on AT&T acquired the replace, noticed the brand new icon, did pace checks to see what sort of speeds they have been getting, and that added a complete bunch of latest, quicker pace take a look at information that juiced AT&T’s numbers for the ultimate week of Q1. And, as Ookla notes, since 70 p.c of AT&T’s prospects are iPhone customers — in comparison with 49 p.c on T-Cell and 62 p.c on Verizon — that bump from iOS customers making an attempt to determine if 5G E was truly quicker than the LTE that they had the day earlier than (spoiler: it’s not) was much more important.
So sure, AT&T’s community has been getting higher, and is barely quicker as a complete now than its rivals. Nevertheless it’s not practically as dramatic of a rise as AT&T’s announcement would counsel, and presumably, as soon as numbers begin to normalize once more, issues will proceed to look a bit nearer going ahead. And no quantity of 5G E advertising hype will have the ability to change that.