It appears 5G networks are slowly coming online across the country. A new 5G speed report from IHS Markit reveals mobile Internet speeds are faster than 4G. That’s not surprising. Still, gigabit Internet service delivered over fiber still wins the race for most users and businesses.

The IHS Markit study focused on two locations, Los Angeles and Chicago. In both cities, the major American carriers provide nascent 5G service. The only exception is AT&T’s lack of 5G coverage in Chicago.

5G Wireless future

5G networks are coming online across America.

News about the IHS Markit study appeared in Telecompetitor among other sources. Let’s look more closely at the details to see if you need to buy a 5G smartphone soon. In short, it appears 5G reaching the mainstream is at least one or two years away.

Details on The IHS Markit 5G Speed Report

Verizon won the race in Chicago, with a maximum Internet speed of 780 Mbps delivered over 5G. Sprint’s 5G network reached 250 Mbps, while T-Mobile brought up the rear with only 148 Mbps. Remember, AT&T didn’t have 5G service in Chicago at the time of the IHS Markit study.

In Los Angeles, Verizon also came in first with a 5G speed of 627 Mbps. Sprint’s speed hit 201 Mbps, with AT&T following at 126.2 Mbps. Once again, T-Mobile finished last, but just barely at 125.7 Mbps. The team at IHS Markit commented on their findings.

“Access to the fastest 5G speeds depends on what spectrum each carrier has available. We’re still in the early days of 5G and expect to see even faster speeds over time as 5G network coverage expands and as the carriers make technology upgrades,” noted IHS Markit.

In fact, AT&T’s 4G LTE service in Los Angeles is actually faster than their nascent 5G network. The same is true for T-Mobile. This is good news for subscribers not wanting to upgrade their smartphone. The report did mention both providers are using low-band spectrum in L.A.

Verizon’s faster speeds are due to its high-band millimeter wave service, which is only practical in highly populated areas. This approach requires equipment located in close proximity. Rural and less populated regions are expected to eventually see low-band 5G service.

Is Improved Latency More Important Than 5G Speed?

While 5G offers the potential for fast speeds, especially on high-band networks, its low latency is the real gamechanger. A business world already adopting the Internet of Things is also poised to quickly embrace 5G. Low latency makes new 5G networks located in factories or hospitals extremely responsive.

Arguably, the biggest impact of 5G at home might involve providing high-speed Internet to underserved regions. Stay tuned to our future coverage of the emergence of 5G networks. Be sure to perform a regular speed test to ensure you get the bandwidth you deserve.