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Verizon 5G: Everything you need to know

Verizon 5G speed test
Verizon 5G speed test (Image credit: Android Central)

Verizon's 5G network has continued to grow and evolve since its introduction, starting with a very fast mmWave network before moving on to a slower, but much more practical, low-band nationwide solution. Its mmWave network could produce download speeds over 1Gbps though coverage was very lacking, often requiring a direct line of sight to the mast to stay connected. In October of 2020, Verizon launched its nationwide 5G network and worked fast to close the gap to AT&T and T-Mobile, both of which launched nationwide 5G networks in late 2019. This network delivered speeds more in line with the LTE network with which it shares spectrum.

In January 2022, Verizon finally got its C-band network off the ground following multiple delays caused by the airline industry. Advertised as Ultra Wideband, a name previously used to represent its mmWave 5G, Verizon's C-band network is set to deliver the speeds people have come to expect from 5G. C-band coverage is closer to that of LTE making it much quicker and easier to deploy. Verizon launched C-band to around 90 million people and the network has continued to expand since.

Understanding how each carrier will deploy 5G can be confusing, but we've been keeping tabs on all of them. Here is everything you need to know about Verizon's newest and fastest wireless network.

When will my area even get 5G?

If you have a phone that supports the newer nationwide 5G network and you live in a big city, there's a chance you're covered. This network now has coverage in 2,700 cities. Compared to 5G coverage from T-Mobile, it's still lacking but has narrowed the gap significantly. This network shares spectrum with Verizon's LTE network, with the tower allocating spectrum as needed based on demand.

Verizon's DSS nationwide 5G is growing quickly, but its speeds are still more in line with what you'd expect from LTE. To solve its speed issues, Verizon started deploying C-band in January 2022 and isn't dragging its feet.

Verizon is going ultra

C-Band spectrum refers to a chunk of sub-6 spectrum that first became partially available in late 2021 with the rest opening up over the following year. This 3.7GHz to 3.8GHz spectrum allows Verizon to deliver speeds similar to those on T-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G using a different chunk of mid-band spectrum.

Verizon has spent billions acquiring chunks of C-band spectrum and has faced a couple of delays in its deployment. Initially, Verizon and AT&T were planning to begin their C-band launches in December 2021, but voluntarily delayed the network while interference concerns for certain altimeters on planes were addressed. Verizon and AT&T both launched their C-band networks in January 2022 with Verizon covering an estimated 90 million people. This was a bit less than planned with some last-minute restrictions placed around certain airports.

Source: Verizon (Image credit: Source: Verizon)

Verizon is calling both its mmWave and C-band coverage Ultra Wideband in reference to how much more spectrum is available at these frequencies. With C-band 5G turning in speed results over 300Mbps consistently and peaking as high as 1Gbps, it's easy to see why.

Check out Verizon's 5G coverage map to see if you're covered.

5G on mmWave is fast, but coverage is low

Verizon's mmWave network has also continued to improve, with the carrier consistently adding new cities. Services like 5G Home are helping people make use of all of mmWave's speed and have become a great alternative to cable internet. This spectrum is above 24GHz and offers huge open chunks so it can support many simultaneous connections than LTE or even nationwide 5G can.

Ultra Wideband 5G coverage is shown on Verizon's coverage maps if you're looking to try it out. Coverage is progressing, but there's still a long way to go.

Cities with UWB coverage

  • Birmingham (5G Home)
  • Phoenix (5G Home)
  • Tucson (5G Home)
  • Little Rock (5G Home)
  • Anaheim (5G Home)
  • Bakersfield (5G Home)
  • Fremont (5G Home)
  • Fresno (5G Home)
  • Los Angeles (5G Home)
  • Oakland (5G Home)
  • Riverside (5G Home)
  • Sacramento (5G Home)
  • San Diego (5G Home)
  • San Francisco (5G Home)
  • San Jose (5G Home)
  • Colorado Springs
  • Denver (5G Home)
  • Hartford (5G Home)
  • Delaware Beaches
  • Wilmington
  • Fort Lauderdale (5G Home)
  • Jacksonville (5G Home)
  • Miami (5G Home)
  • Orlando (5G Home)
  • Panama City
  • Pensacola (5G Home)
  • Sarasota (5G Home)
  • St. Petersburg (5G Home)
  • Tampa (5G Home)
  • Atlanta (5G Home)
  • Athens (5G Home)
  • Boise
  • Chicago (5G Home)
  • Fort Wayne (5G Home)
  • Indianapolis (5G Home)
  • Des Moines (5G Home)
  • Louisville (5G Home)
  • New Orleans (5G Home)
  • Baltimore
  • Ocean City
  • Boston
  • Ann Arbor (5G Home)
  • Detroit (5G Home)
  • Grand Rapids
  • Minneapolis (5G Home)
  • St. Paul (5G Home)
  • Kansas City (5G Home)
  • St. Louis (5G Home)
  • Omaha (5G Home)
  • Las Vegas (5G Home)
  • Hoboken, NJ
  • Jersey City
  • Jersey Shore Beaches (5G Home)
  • Albuquerque (5G Home)
  • Albany
  • New York
  • Niagara Falls (5G Home)
  • Syracuse
  • Charlotte (5G Home)
  • Durham (5G Home)
  • Greensboro (5G Home)
  • Raleigh (5G Home)
  • Akron (5G Home)
  • Cincinnati (5G Home)
  • Dayton (5G Home)
  • Cleveland (5G Home)
  • Columbus (5G Home)
  • Oklahoma City (5G Home)
  • Gresham (5G Home)
  • Portland (5G Home)
  • Harrisburg
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Scranton
  • Providence
  • Columbia (5G Home)
  • Greenville (5G Home)
  • Sioux Falls
  • Knoxville (5G Home)
  • Memphis (5G Home)
  • Nashville (5G Home)
  • Arlington (5G Home)
  • Austin (5G Home)
  • Dallas (5G Home)
  • El Paso
  • Houston (5G Home)
  • San Antonio (5G Home)
  • Provo (5G Home)
  • Salt Lake City (5G Home)
  • Norfolk
  • Richmond
  • Seattle (5G Home)
  • Spokane (5G Home)
  • Tacoma (5G Home)
  • Washington D.C.
  • Milwaukee (5G Home)

Verizon 5G Home router

Source: Samuel Contreras / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Verizon's 5G Home internet service is also available to many using the Ultra Wideband network to deliver unlimited fixed home internet. Using a modem mounted on or near a window, this network can deliver speeds near or exceeding what's offered by cable competitors, especially with uploads. And unlike many cable providers, it's completely unlimited. That means that you can stream, game, and download without worrying about going over your limit. This can be great for streamers and cord-cutters that want the best quality video.

Verizon 5G Home has two plans available with the first starting at $50 per month with autopay and the second starting at $70 per month. If you're a Verizon Wireless customer, this price is cut in half. The service comes with unlimited data and as much speed as the network can deliver. You even get a free Wi-Fi 6 router included. The cheaper plan comes with a two-year price guarantee while the more expensive option is guaranteed for three years.

Verizon also includes some streaming perks, including six months of Disney+ on the cheaper plan and 12 months on the more expensive plan. Verizon will also include a streaming box, making it easier to ditch your old internet and TV package.

Which devices should I get to be 5G ready?

Google Pixel 6 Pro Lock Screen

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

For the best experience on Verizon's 5G network, you'll want a device with support for all of Verizon's 5G bands. These bands include n5 and n66 for nationwide 5G, n77 for C-band, and bands n260 and n261 for mmWave. Luckily, devices like the Pixel 6 support the full network. While many of the best Android phones support nationwide 5G, if you want to make the most of the Verizon network, you want a phone with C-band support.

If you're looking to get some work done, Verizon has a couple of hotspots that can access its network. The MiFi M2100 5G UW from Inseego supports both mmWave and sub-6 5G as well as Wi-Fi 6. With support for up to 30 connected devices, it can be a great way to get a lot of devices online in a pinch.

Which plan do I need for access?

All Verizon plans will have access to the nationwide 5G network for no extra cost. If you have a phone that supports the network, you will be able to access it without changing your plan or paying any extra. Still, opting for one of the best cell phone plans with plenty of premium data will help you get the most out of your 5G phone.

Currently, Ultra Wideband is included with Verizon's Play More, Do More, and Get More Unlimited plans. The 5G Play More and Do More plans come with 50GB of Premium data while 5G Get More is unlimited. For most people, the biggest differences between the plan will be the streaming perks including Disney+ and Apple Music. It's also worth noting that the 5G Get More plan comes with 50GB of hotspot data compared to 25GB on the other two.

The 5G Start plan only has access to the nationwide 5G network, doesn't come with any premium data or hotspot data, and has no streaming perks. If you're looking for just the basics, this is a good place to start though you won't be making the most of the 5G network.

5G Play More5G Do More5G Get More
Premium data50GB50GBUnlimited
LTE hotspot25GB25GB50GB
Talk and textUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
LTE/nationwide 5G videoUp to 720pUp to 720pUp to 720p
Mexico and CanadaTalk and TextTalk and TextTalk and Text
Apple Music6 months6 monthsIncluded
Disney+, Hulu, ESPN +Included6 monthsIncluded

Is 5G worth it for most people?

If you've purchased a new phone in the last year, there's a good chance it supports 5G. While many people would have been fine with the speeds offered by the best LTE networks, there was a limit to how much the network could support. People are relying more and more on their internet connections and data usage has continued to climb.

If you're happy with your non-5G device, 5G still isn't the reason to upgrade. There's a good chance you'll be able to get by completely fine on the older LTE network until you're ready to upgrade for another reason. If you are ready to upgrade though, it's a good idea to grab a device that will support the new network.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.

11 Comments
  • At this point in time I'll wait for all carrier's to handle it. There is still a definite lack of towers. So why spend the extra money right now when you can't actually use it!
  • Living out in the badlands, 5G will be at least 3 years out, no matter what carrier.
    Big V's 4G is good for now.
  • My question is are the 5G radios used in phones going to continue to improve enough that waiting to get a 5G phone would make sense for that reason alone?
    I know the 5G radios in the first phones will not be as good as ones that come out later... but at what point will the radios pretty much be as good as they are gonna get?
    And would it be more important to look at wifi 6 phones right now as opposed to 5G? I know many sports arenas and convention centers are planning on using wifi 6 very soon.
  • Currently the two main modems in use are the Qualcomm X50 and X55. The X50 was in the earlier models such as the LG V50 and the S10 5G. The newer phones use the X55 which has several benefits. I worked on an article comparing the two a while back. Even LTE modems have continued to improve and support more features. For the most part they're moving faster than the tower nodes that supply them. Wi-Fi 6 will be very interesting in the next couple of years for dense areas with a lot of connections. It makes sense for an arena since most Wi-Fi 6 access points can support around 1000 connections each. I would hope that Wi-Fi 6 support is the norm in 2020 for phones. The Note 10 5G is one of the first with both Wi-Fi 6 and the newer Qualcomm X55 modem.
  • It's 500 gb not mb
  • Good find. Fixed!
  • I was around when the carriers transitioned from analog to hybrid analog-digital to digital. There's NO RUSH to jump to 5G until they work out their networks and systems. If someone wants to jump now, that's their choice. It'll be a few years till 5G rocks! Based on past experiences, I'm patient.
  • I was too. I recall having to buy a special analog slice for my new digital Nokia so I could still get coverage all those places that hadn't transitioned.
  • Maybe not everything you need to know. The stuff reported here two days ago is also useful https://www.androidcentral.com/latest-opensignal-report-reminds-us-5g-sp...
  • T-MOBILE is taking it to Verizon. Verizon definitely got caught slipping when it comes to 5G as far as availability goes.
  • Verizon is still a really long way from having nationwide 5G coverage. At this rate it'll be 10 years before that happens.