Galaxy S10 5G SprintSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

All of the major U.S. carriers are hard at work on their 5G strategy. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have launched 5G networks and are aggressively expanding those networks through 2019. 5G service not only provides faster speeds but also reduced response times allowing for new services and cloud computing not previously available. For now, the major difference between LTE and 5G will be speed but as coverage continues to roll out to new areas, more services that rely on instant connectivity should become possible.

Verizon

Galaxy S10 5GSource: Android Central

Verizon is starting small with two cities deploying what it calls 5G Ultra Wideband (UWB). In short, this version of 5G uses large chunks of high-frequency bandwidth that produce very high speeds but suffer in other areas such as coverage over distance and building penetration. While coverage is dense enough in cities to be included on the list, Verizon is being conservative and offering much more specific descriptions of tower locations.

Verizon has released a set of maps to help you pinpoint where 5G is available in your cities. This is a helpful addition but it does show off some of the main coverage weaknesses of UWB.

Verizon 5G map Phoenix, AZ November 2019Source: Verizon

At this time, it is easy to be discouraged about such minimal 5G coverage but this deployment is only a start for Verizon — it has several cities still listed as "coming soon." Early tests have been positive with us seeing speeds up to 1.4 Gbps. Although these massive speeds are impressive, they probably won't hold up under a full Chicago load, but it's still exciting to see.

We're also seeing more specific expansion to places like NFL stadiums or race tracks. While great as a tech demonstration, this really doesn't offer much to the customer just yet.

5G on Verizon: Everything you need to know

Verizon 5G

Ultra Wideband Service

A fast-growing millimeter wave network

High-speed downloads and a quickly expanding network make Verizon's 5G implementation of the most complete in the nation.

Sprint

LG V50 ThinQSource: Android Central

Sprint is bringing its 2.5Ghz 5G to its Overland Park, KS location as well as the nearby Kansas City. They also provide 5G in seven other cities with more to follow later this year. With a good selection of 5G compatible devices such as a hotspot and several phones, Sprint's 5G network is the closest to being fully useable with good coverage density, similar to LTE, and speeds around 300Mbps in our testing.

While Sprint customers wait to see how a potential merger with T-Mobile might pan out, Sprint has moved ahead with its service upgrades and even shows its 5G coverage alongside 4G on its coverage maps to demonstrate its confidence. Sprint has also announced that it is continuing to improve its 5G footprint with expanded coverage in Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston.

It looks like Sprint might be one of the best options for 5G in the near future as long as the network can handle the load. Sprint is putting its 5G to work already with improvements coming to emergency serivices already. If nothing else, it is better than LTE so I'll take it.

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Dallas Fort Worth, TX
  • Chicago, IL
  • Houston, TX
  • Kansas City, KS
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Washington, D.C.

Sprint 5G

Mid-band 5G

2.5Ghz means better coverage and stable speeds

More coverage makes Sprint's 5G network a strong option with speeds that are much faster than 4G. This 5G service will cover more people with fewer towers and fewer dropped connections.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile 5G with 600MhzSource: T-Mobile

T-Mobile is the last of the Big Four to offer a 5G option. T-Mobile has already built a small high-band, or millimeter wave, 5G network in parts of a few cities. The real news for T-Mobile 5G comes with low-band 5G and potentially adding in Sprint's mid-band 5G. T-Mobile is launching 5G on its low-band 600Mhz spectrum on December 6, 2019. This network will dramatically increase 5G coverage while simultaneously improving 4G LTE speeds.

600Mhz 5G is here

T-Mobile already has an interactive 5G coverage map ready to go. The OnePlus 7T 5G McLaren and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G are now available and capable of using this new low-band 5G network.

As it stands, the raw speed increases aren't anything to write home about but the coverage is promising and should be great for covering gaps in future 5G deployments with more spectrum to play with. If T-Mobile can close the deal with Sprint and combine the two networks, it will be a clear leader in 5G worldwide.

Metro by T-Mobile is also getting 5G on all of its plans with the same phones as T-Mobile. This will also be available on December 6.

High-band, millimeter wave coverage is available in parts of these cities.

  • Atlanta
  • Cleveland
  • Dallas
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • New York

T-Mobile 5G

Low and high-band

Nationwide coverage

T-Mobile is building a nationwide 5G network on low-band and high-band spectrum. It isn't charging customers any more to get on it. With T-Mobile, all you need is the phone and coverage to get 5G.

MVNO 5G

Metro by T-Mobile

Prepaid 5G is still 5G

Metro by T-Mobile is an MVNO with a big focus on data and that isn't changing. Like its big brother T-Mobile, all plans on Metro get 5G for no extra charge.

AT&T

Galaxy Note 10Source: Android Central

AT&T certainly has one of the most impressive lists of cities with available 5G coverage. AT&T has launched the majority of its 5G network for business use. AT&T started with millimeter wave, or mmWave before the more recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G alongside its low-band 850Mhz deployment for consumers.

If you're on AT&T and you want to access 5G, you'll need either the Unlimited Elite or Unlimited Extra plan. 5G low-band is available to AT&T customers in ten cities so far. While there will likely be some improvement over LTE using this 850Mhz 5G, it's not going to hit the super-fast speeds we've seen with millimeter wave. Still, the 850Mhz deployment should have much better coverage than mmWave and be faster than 4G LTE. AT&T also has some coverage maps but note that the maps show projected coverage for February 2020.

Already covered

Next for consumer 5G

  • Buffalo, NY
  • Boston, MA
  • Bridgeport, CT
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Louisville, KY
  • New York, NY

AT&T has added a section to its phone specifications called "5G Evolution Capable." This stat doesn't say anything about whether a phone is 5G capable and only refers to modern 4G LTE as 5Ge service is actually 4G LTE Advanced. Every other carrier calls this LTE, LTE-A, or LTE Plus.

AT&T's fastest millimeter wave 5G is still being built, but for now, it is only accessible to business accounts and it's impossible to tell precisely which areas in the city are covered.

Millimeter wave 5G for business

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Dallas, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Louisville, KY
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Orlando, FL
  • Raleigh, NC
  • San Antonio, TX
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Waco, TX

5G on AT&T Wireless: Everything you need to know

AT&T 5G

Coverage 5G

5G in ten cities

AT&T's high-band 5G is still moving along but for consumers, 850Mhz low-band 5G is available today in a few cities. Grab an unlimited plan and the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G to get connected.

5G devices are becoming more capable with advancements in 5G modems such as the newer X55 modem from Qualcomm that has replaced the X50 as the most capable 5G chip.

5G is one of the more exciting things to happen to wireless networking in years and has the same exciting feeling that the move to 3G had. If you are a wireless enthusiast and want an easy way to see how 5G is shaping up worldwide, Ookla, the company famous for its internet speed test, has a map showing new locations as providers send them in.

Verizon 5G

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G

Fast, smooth, and cutting edge.

Adding 5G to the Note lines makes the Galaxy Note 10+ 5g one of the best phones to get work done on the go. You also get the great S-Pen and great display.

Sprint 5G

OnePlus 7 Pro 5G

Only the best hardware

OnePlus brings one of the best Android experiences to Sprint with 5G support. Add in a notch-free 90hz screen with a great battery for a great phone.

Update, December 2019: This article has been updated to reflect changes to T-Mobile's 5G coverage including a new coverage map for 600Mhz 5G and compatible phones. Metro by T-Mobile info added to the T-Mobile section. Los Angeles, Des Moines, and Memphis added to the list of Verizon UWB cities. AT&T low-band cities added with maps.

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