How to Find Out Where 5G Is Available In Your Area
The iPhone 12 is now the best-selling 5G smartphone in the US, according to data from PCMag. There are also smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, and LQ smartphones that are capable of connecting to these ultra-fast networks. With more and more high-end mobile phones being released with this high-speed technology, here’s everything you need to know about where 5G is available and how you can find out if it is available in your area.
What Is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks that started rolling out in 2019. It delivers much faster download speeds, lower latency, greater reliability, and higher capacity to smartphones than the previous 4G LTE generation.
With 5G, you will be able to download movies much faster and stream videos without experiencing any buffering. With its ultra-low latency, it will let you play the latest games and have video chats without experiencing any lagging. And, with its enhanced reliability and capacity, you will get better service, even if you’re in a crowded area.
But in order to take advantage of the benefits of 5G, you need two things: a 5G-capable device and a mobile network that supports the technology. These days, all three major mobile networks support 5G, but only in certain areas.
5G has become increasingly available in many cities across the United States. But in order to find out if 5G is available in your area, you can check the coverage maps of your mobile carrier. Then enter your zip code or address into the search bar or zoom in to your area.
Where Is Verizon 5G Available?
Verizon has the fastest 5G network, but it is also the smallest. The mobile carrier has two different 5G networks. Its Nationwide network is available for 230 million people in over 2,700 cities across the US, while its Ultra Wideband network is currently available in 57 cities.
Verizon’s 5G Nationwide network runs on a low-band spectrum that uses Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology. That means it actually shares some of the existing 4G LTE spectrum with 5G. So, while it is more widely available, it might not actually be much faster than the existing 4G network.
On the other hand, Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network can reach speeds over 1Gbps in some areas. That means it’s the fastest network in the US, and it’s even faster than most home WiFi networks. After its most recent speed test, PC Magazine said Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network was “the only form of 5G that delivers a genuinely different experience from 4G—but there’s hardly any of it available.”
Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network is only available in certain areas because it uses the mmWave (millimeter wave) spectrum. That means you might actually lose coverage by simply walking across the street in some cases. Plus, the Ultra Wideband network can’t penetrate buildings, glass, and other objects. It can even be disrupted by the rain or heat.
AT&T’s 5G network is not quite as fast as Verizon’s but it has a much wider network. According to AT&T, its low-band network is available in over 14,000 cities and towns all across the country. AT&T also has a high-band network, but it is only available in select locations.
According to a recent speed test from PC Magazine, AT&T is neck-and-neck with Verizon when it comes to average download speeds. However, that is mainly due to advancements with its 4G network. Since AT&T uses parts of its 4G spectrum for its 5G network, PC Magazine found that its 5G network was actually slower than its 4G network in 21 out of 22 cities.
AT&T also has a high-band network called 5G+, however, it is only available in select locations, such as sports stadiums, airports, and convention centers.
To find out where the carrier’s networks are available in your area, check AT&T’s coverage map here.
Where Is T-Mobile 5G Available?
After merging with Sprint, T-Mobile now claims to have “the largest 5G network in America.” According to the mobile carrier, its 5G network is available to more than 280 million people, while its high-band 5G network is available in 2,400 cities and towns.
T-Mobile claims its low-band network covers an area of nearly 1.6 million square miles, making it 2.5 times larger than AT&T’s network and four times larger than Verizon’s. According to recent data from Opensignal, T-Mobile customers were connected to a 5G network over 30% of the time, while AT&T users were connected 18% of the time and Verizon users were only connected 9.5% of the time.
Opensignal also found T-Mobile had the fastest average speeds when it comes to the “real-world 5G experience of users.” However, the average 5G download speed was only 58.1 Mbps for T-Mobile, while AT&T was at 53.8 Mbps and Verizon was at 47.4 Mbps. This is because, unlike the other two major carriers, T-Mobile has focused on building up its mid-band network, which delivers better speeds than the low-band networks and greater range than high-band networks.