Is all 5G created equal? Why some companies claim to have ‘better’ 5G.

“If it’s not Three, it’s not real 5G,” stated Three’s 5G advertising spot that caused some controversy. Was Three being cheeky or is there a difference between good 5G and bad 5G? We find out.

You’d be forgiven for thinking all 5G is the same. However, Three’s campaign slogan “If it’s not Three, it’s not real 5G” raises the obvious question of what is real 5G?

It was something that BT-owned EE wanted to know too. It sought an advertising ban against the claims made by Three UK. The Advertising Standards Authority will now investigate whether the claim is in breach of the advertising code due to being misleading.

Regardless of what that ASA finds, Three’s claim isn’t just marketing boasts. A spectrum is the over-the-air bandwidth needed to transmit data and Three has almost three times as much of the 5G spectrum as any of its rivals. That means Three’s 5G network will be able to handle more data and much higher speeds. Three has 140MHz of 5G spectrum, while Vodafone has 50MHz, while O2 and EE have 40MHz each.

So it’s a bit faster. Does that mean it’s the only real 5G? Here’s where the interesting part comes in.  The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standards indicate that to deliver a 5G network, you may need to have a minimum of 100MHz of 5G spectrum.

By that definition then yes, Three is the only real 5G in the UK. It’ll be interesting to see if the ASA agree with that claim.

It reminds us a little bit of the ‘HD Ready’ phase of televisions, when everyone wanted high definition picture, but didn’t realise that there was a huge gulf between 720p and 1080p despite both being designated as HD.