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We Tested 5G Networks Across Asian Cities. The Verdict: Patchy

  • Consumers are promised gigabit speeds, but access still scarce
  • Network density is a must with this generation of wireless
Inside The Vodafone GmbH 5G Lab
Photographer: Wolfram Schroll/Bloomberg
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Fifth-generation networking hype has been in full force since Qualcomm Inc. declared “5G is here, and it’s time to celebrate” in February of last year. The reality, however, has required patience from consumers due to the time needed to roll out the new networks and the dearth of applications to put additional speed to compelling use.

A year after South Korea launched the world’s first full commercial 5G network and months after China opened the world’s biggest, Bloomberg News reporters tested the leading carriers in both countries to see how far 5G has gotten. Tests in Hong Kong and Tokyo showed similar results -- gaps in coverage that could leave most early adopters waiting for networks to reach full speed.