Verizon 5G speed testSource: Android Central

Best 5G Plan Android Central 2020

5G is moving quickly and with coverage finally reaching more people thanks to Sub-6 5G. Verizon has been moving quickly on its Ultra Wideband network as well consistently adding new cities and towers. The best plan for you might depend on whether or not you get coverage. The best overall plan for 5G is T-Mobile's Magenta plan with unlimited data and Netflix included.

Best Overall: T-Mobile Magenta

T-Mobile 5G network on the OnePlus 7T ProSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Unlike other carriers, T-Mobile doesn't relegate its most expensive plans for 5G so if you upgrade to a 5G capable device, you can get connected on any plan. T-Mobile's 5G network isn't the fastest right now but it has the most coverage by far. The speeds on T-Mobile 5G should be plenty for normal phone usage. With that in mind, the Magenta plan is one of the best values on T-Mobile thanks to its unlimited data with deprioritization at 50GB and Netflix included.

This plan only includes 3GB of LTE hotspot so it may be worth it to step up to the Magenta Plus plan for $15 more if you use a lot of data on your other devices. Similarly, you can drop down to the Essentials plan if you only need the basics. This makes T-Mobile one of the easiest ways to try out 5G without needing to go for the most expensive plan.

Pros:

  • All plans get 5G
  • Low-band and high-band
  • Netflix included
  • 5GB in Canada and Mexico
  • Unlimited 3G speed hotspot

Cons:

  • SD streaming
  • Only 3GB high-speed hotspot

Best Overall

T-Mobile Magenta

A dense 5G network and all you need is a 5G phone

T-Mobile's Magenta plan has everything smartphone users need without requiring a top-tier plan or a temporary discount.

Best Value: Metro by T-Mobile

T-Mobile 5G network on the OnePlus 7T ProSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Metro by T-Mobile brings T-Mobile's network, including 5G, without contracts. You'll get access to the same 5G network that regular T-Mobile customers do as long as you have a compatible phone, although it's worth noting that some LTE coverage may be weaker. You also don't get access to a hotspot.

This plan comes with 10GB of data which should be enough for most people especially considering that music streaming doesn't use up your data. Metro by T-Mobile is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to try out 5G. It's worth noting that Metro only offers the Galaxy Note10 Plus 5G in stores and does not sell other 5G capable T-Mobile phones.

Pros:

  • Unlimited music streaming
  • 10GB of data
  • 5G on every plan

Cons:

  • The network may be slower
  • LTE coverage is weaker
  • No hotspot data

Best Value

10GB High-Speed

A big 5G network without unlimited.

Not everyone needs a ton of data. Metro by T-Mobile includes 5G with all plans, along with the 10GB plan with free music streaming.

Best International: Google Fi Flexible

Samsung Galaxy S20+Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

If you have a phone that works with T-Mobile's 5G network, you can get it connected with Google Fi. Google Fi's main flexible plan comes with unlimited calls and texts in the U.S. for $20 per month. Data comes in at $10 per gigabyte but Google Fi stops charging you at 6GB of usage. After this, your data is unlimited but it's significantly slowed down at 15GB. Still, if you make use of Wi-Fi points, this is enough for most people.

If you find you need more, Google Fi does have an unlimited plan available that slows down at 22GB. All of Google Fi's plans come with hotspot capability, which shares your standard data. One of Google Fi's most remarkable features is data roaming at the same cost in over 200 countries worldwide. This makes Google Fi a great option for frequent travelers.

Using a 5G phone on Google Fi means you will only have access to the T-Mobile network so whether you are in a 5G area or not, you will be limited to T-Mobile. There are no phones available for Google Fi that support the entire Fi network as well as 5G yet.

Pros:

  • Only pay for what your use
  • Same price for international data
  • Hotspot included
  • Bill protection at 6GB

Cons:

  • Data throttled at 15GB
  • 5G phones don't use full LTE network

Best International

Google Fi Flexible

Pay for what you use

Only pay for the data you use with T-Mobile 5G and stay online while traveling abroad with no extra fee.

Best on AT&T: AT&T Unlimited Extra

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

AT&T has been working on its mmWave network for a while but so far it's only available to business customers. Recently, however, AT&T launched a low-band 5G network for consumers. This is different from AT&T's 5GE service, which was more of a well-developed LTE network. This is real 5G.

AT&T Unlimited Extra is the cheapest 5G capable plan and it comes with unlimited talk, text, and data with data deprioritization after 50GB. The plan does come with unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico as well. Streaming, however, is limited to SD quality, making streaming less compelling on this plan.

It's worth remembering that the price per line comes down quite a bit with multiple lines. For example with four lines, the price comes down to $40 per month per line.

Pros:

  • Growing low-band network
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico

Cons:

  • Deprioritization at 50GB
  • 15GB hotspot
  • SD video streaming

Best on AT&T

AT&T Unlimited Extra

A growing low-band 5G network

The Unlimited Extra plan helps you make the most of it with 15GB of hotspot and 50GB of premium data on a growing 5G network.

Best Hotspot: Sprint Unlimited Plus

Sprint 5G downloadSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

Sprint chose to build its 5G network on its 2.5 GHz spectrum. This is significantly lower than Verizon's network, but it results in larger coverage areas similar to 4G LTE and good consistency. While speeds are slower than 5G deployed on higher bands, the extra coverage makes up for it in most use cases. It's also worth keeping in mind that Galaxy S20 series of phones on Sprint will have access to the T-Mobile low-band 5G network but Sprint customers.

Sprint offers two plans for 5G phones starting with Unlimited Plus. The more expensive Unlimited Premium plan gives you a few more streaming extras and bumps the hotspot up another 50GB.

Sprint's Unlimited Plus plan grants access to an impressive number of extras including Hulu Tidal with HD streaming. You also get 50GB of hotspot data and 10GB of roaming data in Canada and Mexico as well. Data is deprioritized at 50GB of usage, however. This plan starts at $70 per month with discounts available for multiple lines.

Pros:

  • 1080p HD video streaming
  • 50GB hotspot
  • includes Hulu and Tidal

Cons:

  • Deprioritization at 50GB
  • Smallest Sub-6 network

Best Hotspot

Sprint Unlimited Plus

A bigger footprint with more streaming extras

Sprint's 5G plan is a great value and the Unlimited Plus plan gives you the speed and consistency of 5G at a competitive price.

Best Speed: Verizon Play More Unlimited

5G speed testSource: Android Central

Verizon has an impressive 5G network so far. Though the current coverage area isn't as dense as other carriers, Verizon's 5G speeds will outclass the Sub-6 networks — that is until you go inside. While the connection is very fast when it's in range, the higher frequency bands give it worse coverage and building penetration.

Verizon's 5G plans feel tailored for 5G with sensible upgrades, like the boosted maximum quality of streaming video. It also offers Unlimited 5G data and hotspot. That's because at first, 5G capability on Verizon was part of a $10 upgrade package. The upgrade is included with current phones but only for a limited time.

Apple Music is included and it comes with 15GB of hotspot data on LTE. With 25GB of premium LTE data to hold you over between 5G nodes, this plan is a good balance. Of course, the cost per line does decrease as you add more lines.

Pros:

  • 4K video streaming
  • Apple Music
  • Fast wideband 5G
  • Unlimited 5G hotspot

Cons:

  • 4G Deprioritization at 25GB
  • Price is for a limited time
  • Sparse coverage

Best Speed

Verizon Play More Unlimited

Fastest wireless on a phone

Access one of the fastest 5G networks with Verizon's Play More Unlimited Plan. Support for 4k video and Apple Music is included.

Bottom line

All 5G networks in the US are growing rapidly with new cities being added all the time. Verizon has continued to focus on its fast network but progress is slow. Even so, unless you have coverage in your area and are willing to upgrade to a 5G capable phone, 5G service isn't worth worrying about. For the time being, most people will find 4G LTE service to be fast enough for their usage.

However, if you are interested in jumping on the 5G bandwagon, T-Mobile has one of the most robust 5G solutions so far and it's only improving with consistent updates and millimeter-wave capacity ready to deploy when more people hop on 5G. T-Mobile considers 5G to be a normal part of its network and, luckily for you, doesn't a premium to use it. T-Mobile Magenta is the best way to experience 5G today at a reasonable price, Netflix included, and the largest 5G network by far.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking, 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.

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