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T-Mobile's 5G speed is mind-bogglingly faster than Verizon

The nation's third-largest carrier gets into 5G in a big way.

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T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray talks up the company's 5G efforts.

James Martin/CNET

T-Mobile has mocked the other carriers for making ridiculous promises and hyping up 5G, or the next generation of wireless technology.

So what does it do on Tuesday? Hype up 5G.

T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray laid out his vision for the carrier's move into 5G, which it's making in a big way. Working with Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung, T-Mobile was able to show off speeds of 12 gigabits per second. That's more than three times as fast as the trials Verizon conducted back in February.

Just to put these speeds into perspective, Verizon's 5G trials alone represented a connection that was several hundred times faster than today's LTE and three and a half times faster than Google's superfast Fiber internet service.

Those kinds of speeds are key to driving a whole new generation of applications, whether its virtual reality, self-driving cars or the ability for you to download the entire library of Seinfeld episodes in minutes. But don't hold your breath for 5G to show up anytime soon. The wireless industry hasn't come to an agreement on the underlying standards, and most experts believe the real ball will get rolling in 2018.

As a result, these speed games don't matter much to what the service will actually look like down the line. AT&T, for instance, claims it has hit 14 gigabits per second in its own lab tests.

Still, Ray said T-Mobile is already working on the transition.

"5G is something we are building now," he said, noting that the investment pouring into its LTE network will serve as the foundation.

Verizon was the first to sound the 5G horn, last year, when it jumped out with its intention to test the technology, partially as a way to influence the international wireless community. AT&T followed suit and now has two test locations. Both plan to use a 5G-like wireless ability to test out an alternative version of home broadband service.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, said it is working with the Federal Communications Commission, its majority owner Deutsche Telekom and standards bodies in its preparation for 5G.