For the past year or so we’ve continually heard promises that 5G connectivity is the future and carriers have been scrambling to keep up with all their competitors. But sometimes, it comes to the point when they’re all just one-upping each other to claim they have the wides or the best 5G without actually giving quality connection to their subscribers. One carrier being called out for this is Verizon and its Dynamic Spectrum Sharing or DSS 5G which can actually be slower than the actual 4G.
To be fair to Verizon, their LTE and their Ultra-Wide Band or UWB 5G is pretty good performance-wise. The problem with UWB 5G is that it has a shorter range and covers fewer areas. So to make good on their “nationwide 5G” claim, Verizon uses DSS 5G which basically uses unused channels of an existing 4G spectrum. In other words, it’s 5G that is riding on 4G bands. Phones will detect that it is connected to 5G even though in reality, the speed is slower than the 4G network that they’re sharing space with.
This DSS 5G may actually be slowing down your 5G-enabled smartphone so it’s better to force it to use 4G LTE in places where you can’t get good UWB 5G coverage. It is better to just turn off your 5G if it’s slowing down your mobile device. The bad news for Android phone owners is that not all Verizon Android phones allow you to turn off your 5G. According to PC Mag, you can go to Settings > Connections > Mobile Network > Network Mode to see if there’s an option there to go to LTE/CDMA instead of 5G/LTE/CDMA.
Unfortunately, it will most likely not be there so you’ll have to make do with the “nationwide 5G” connection that is just slow 4G. iPhone 12 owners have it easy but if you have a Pixel 5 or a OnePlus 8 or a Galaxy S20 FE, you won’t be able to do so. You can’t expect the OEMs to bring a firmware update to fix this so either you get a new phone, transfer to a new carrier, or just wait for Verizon to fix this mess.
For its part, Verizon is saying this is still a new technology that they will be optimizing soon. Hopefully, that is true as you wouldn’t want your new 5G device to be suffering slower connection just because of this DSS 5G.