So when Vodafone invited "Gadgets Boy" (no – us neither) to Manchester to test its 5G connectivity, surely great things could be expected. Soon we could expect millennials to rise, throwing their obsolete 4G phones away with derision.
Standing bravely on the precipice of the 5G revolution, with the fierce wind of disruption blowing through his hair, "Gadgets Boy" managed to clock up a blistering download speed. As you can see.
The data connection surged to a gravity-defying 122Mbps down and 48Mbps up*.
Not surprisingly, this was not quite as blistering as many of his fans were achieving with 4G elsewhere. Wait, replied a Romanian, I'm getting almost 200Mbps down here. Same here, came a reply from Coventry. 264Mbps here in France, said another. Even Vodafone's 4G can apparently crank up over 300Mbps.
Fellow UK carrier EE popped into the thread to thank its customers for sharing their 4G speeds.
For example, RootMetrics finds download speeds in high-congestion areas outdoors vary from 79.8Mbps on average (Vodafone, Manchester) to around 40Mbps (EE, London)... to as low as 3.6Mbps (Three, London).
There's a useful caution for the networks here. The case for 5G, an umbrella term that covers a wide range of network innovation, isn't going to be made by touting faster downloads. Latency may well be the killer app. Or perhaps there isn't going to be a killer app at all. ®
* This was not conducted on a 5G phone; the device-to-router connection was over Wi-Fi, with the router being attached to a test 5G network.