Verizon CEO touts 1.5Gbps peak 5G speed as S10 reviewers hit approved sites

Back in February, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told the audience at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event that he was “super excited” to bring the Galaxy S10 5G to market, even though he wasn’t making specific promises as to how fast the phone would perform on Verizon’s 5G network. Now we have a better idea: Vestberg told attendees at a J.P. Morgan investment conference today that the company hit “1.5 Gigabits per second on the phone this morning,” the highest mobile 5G data rate yet offered by the company, even if it requires some qualification.

Initial Ookla Speedtest results and reports from Chicago suggest that Verizon is tightly curating a tour of a handful of 5G cell sites for reviewers, notably including a testing site directly outside of Motorola’s offices, and other locations immediately next to the company’s 5G hardware. Photographs posted on Twitter are showing download speeds in the 1Gbps range, sometimes higher, sometimes lower, though all are within areas hand-picked by the carrier to demonstrate the phone’s capabilities.

The issue, of course, is that Verizon’s actual 5G coverage is at best threadbare. Currently, the company is promising 5G service in only small parts of two major cities, and once the phones are removed from those areas, they drop from 5G speeds down to 4G — a loss of 10 to 20 times the peak speeds. So when reports claim that Verizon or the S10 5G are offering “real world” speeds in the 1Gbps range, those numbers are only as real as relatively small areas within Chicago and Minneapolis. For now.

AT&T previously claimed in a Friday night press release that its Nighthawk 5G personal hotspot hit a 2Gbps peak 5G speed — though again, actual customers will have a hard time actually seeing this for themselves. Verizon’s chief rival says that it’s offering 5G service to select business customers in 19 cities, but hasn’t yet commenced general 5G service or device sales to consumers.

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