5G is all the rage in the tech world but one look at a coverage maps shows off its greatest weakness. Coverage is coming, but it's taking its time. 5G makes a lot of sense once you can get it everywhere you need to go but unless most of the places you go have coverage, you'll be spending a lot of time on 4G LTE anyways.

You might be wondering whether you should make the jump to 5G. Is it worth it, especially since the technology is in its infancy? While there are quite a few benefits to getting on that bandwagon now, there are a few things you should know about, including that poor coverage.

Best of LTE

Samsung Galaxy S10+

The best unlocked performance

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the top of the Galaxy lineup with a huge and beautiful display on the front and great cameras on the back. With quick software updates and a polished design, this is one of the best phones you can buy.

No service

You probably don't have real 5G service in your area. Most of us don't. There's no question that 5G will eventually get to most areas, just like 4G did, but for the time being, carriers are rolling it out city by city with no clear timeline.

T-Mobile millimeter wave coverage in Los Angeles

AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are deploying millimeter wave networks that have much more limited coverage than the older 4G networks. This is reflected in their coverage so far. The only carrier using millimeter wave coverage to release maps is T-Mobile, and it outlines the problem showing how only half of a block is covered from one tower in many urban locations.

Sprint is the only carrier deploying on sub-6, 2.5 Ghz spectrum. This gives the new network nearly identical coverage to the existing 4G LTE network, though, top speed is compromised compared to millimeter wave. This will be much less of a problem if a proposed merger with T-Mobile is successful, but that still remains to be seen.

Buying in early may mean you get roped in before the ecosystem is ready for you.

Poor building penetration on high-band 5G

The most dramatic 5G results we've seen so far are on mmWave 5G. This is the ultra high-frequency 5G capable of producing speeds well in excess of 1Gbps. The problem is that you need to be very nearby or have a fairly direct line of sight to the tower. When the difference between having 5G and not is turning a corner on a street with buildings, it's just not worth it until the whole area is covered.

Better chips coming soon

We also already know that better, and more efficient hardware is on the way. In the U.S., all of the available 5G devices, from hotspots to phones, use the outdated Qualcomm X50 modem. The new X55 modem design is complete and has better signal abilities, a more efficient design, and a faster top speed. While the X50 of today's phones is fast, something even faster and with improved battery efficiency is around the corner from the same maker. That's not even considering what may come from other chip makers in the future. For now, it's impossible to tell how these early designs will hold up.

Cheaper plans

Unless you're on T-Mobile, 5G service requires top-tier unlimited plans. This forces people that want 5G service to buy into a more expensive plan for what can only be described as an incomplete network. Verizon and Sprint both require 5G customers to subscribe to top unlimited plans with features many users don't need or care about like less popular music streaming services or cloud storage.

AT&T is still requiring a business plan for access to its 5G network starting at $90 per month. So even if you already have a business plan, you may need to upgrade to a more capable plan to take advantage of 5G.

More phones

With only a few phones available with a 5G option, and with those phones being quite expensive or requiring bulky add-ons, there's a good chance that the best phone for you doesn't support 5G at all. Not only that, but there are no 5G phones in the budget category which is where a lot of people prefer to shop. If you are buying a new phone in 2019, 5G shouldn't be at the top of the priority list.

Still, with 5G phones being more than capable of connecting to 4G, and the ability to disable 5G in the settings if coverage is spotty, upgrading to something like the LG V50 ThinQ 5G will get you a modern and fast phone that's ready for 5G. There's also something like the Motorola Z4 which can be upgraded later to 5G with a Moto Mod.

You will still use a lot of LTE

When thinking of a reason why someone might need super high speed data access over a large outdoor area, one of the best ideas is for content creators or streamers to be able to upload high resolution videos and photos in an instant or to host a 4K livestream on the go. However, as Mr. Mobile explains in his testing, uploads still fall back on the 4G LTE network so there's no real benefit there. Sprint has recently enabled 5G uploads on its network, however, but coverage for uploads is much scarcer than the already-scare 5G download availability.

While most of us wait for 5G to make it to where we live and work, modern 4G LTE and Wi-Fi will cover our needs. This really isn't bad because as PCMag's testing shows, LTE is getting faster even in 2019. AT&T pushes to the front of the pack with speeds consistently over 50 Mbps and pushing over 300 Mbps in some regions with other carriers not far behind.

For the time being, it just doesn't make sense to make the switch to 5G. When the network matures and covers the majority of places you use your phone, 5G will be a great option, but probably not for most in 2019.

Best of LTE

Samsung Galaxy S10+

The best unlocked performance

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the top of the Galaxy lineup with a huge and beautiful display on the front and great cameras on the back. With quick software updates and a polished design, this is one of the best phones you can buy.

There are still some reasons to get 5G in 2019

It's not all bad in the world of 5G, though. Even if you're not just the early adopter in your family, there are a few good reasons to get in with 5G in 2019. In fact, we've recounted seven reasons to do just that.

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