5G is rapidly spreading throughout the United States as you continue to read this. Although you may not yet possess a cellphone that can link to the next-generation network, the day is quickly coming, as most new phones now support 5G.  Where specifically is 5G accessible once you have a 5G mobile device? Coverage differs by the provider, but there is a relatively high probability you have 5G where you are located— or at least in close proximity.

To utilize 5G, you are going to need two factors: a 5G-capable smartphone and a 5G-capable cellular network. There is currently a plethora of 5G devices available, including the complete Apple iPhone 12 series and the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, the three major wireless providers in the United States are quickly building out their 5G networks to cater to demand, but there is much more to the 5G implementation than one would expect based on a guide to the provider sites.

Keep reading if you want to find out where you may access mobile 5G in the United States, regardless of your carrier.

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What is 5G?

5G has been in the works for over 10 years and is finally here. Mobile 5G internet service is now increasingly widely accessible, which depends on your mobile contract. Wireless providers began rolling out 5G to specific areas a few years ago, and cellular 5G internet access is now reasonably readily accessible.  

It may seem that there is more confusion when it comes to 5G. Some people want to know where 5G is accessible and whether it is ever going to be available in their area, while other individuals want to know which 5G cellphone they can purchase. There is also a controversy about which carrier can provide the strongest 5G mobile package.

First things first, what is a 5G network or technology? In simple terms, 5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile connectivity, which is going to potentially replace, or at the very least supplement, the current 4G LTE link. With 5G, upload speeds and download rates are multiplied by a factor of ten. Latency, or the amount of time it takes for phones, laptops, or tablets to connect with wireless networks, would also drop dramatically.

5G networks are more robust by design, allowing for even greater links per tower and higher speeds for each user. 5G is also intended to operate through a broader spectrum of radio frequencies (RF), allowing operators to broaden the network services in the ultra-high mmWave (millimeter-wave) bands. 4G phones are incompatible with the current 5G network due to the fact that 5G is a completely new technology that uses new systems, structures, and frequencies.

5G Internet Carriers and Plans

Carriers are well into the deployment of their 5G networks, with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile having each completed regional deployment that used a mix of Sub-6 and mmWave spectrum. That is great news for those who want to use 5G on their devices, but it might have ramifications for other forms of internet services: the home network.

Carriers are starting to provide 5G home internet coverage, which is also referred to as fixed wireless, in addition to greatly supporting mobile 5G. These services include the utilization of a gateway, which links to the carrier’s 5G network and converts the connection into Wi-Fi for people’s various devices at home. 

Verizon’s internet services are currently the most powerful in the United States. AT&T has been slightly delayed in the process regarding 5G, which has created doubt in many individual’s minds. T-Mobile offers internet services to millions of households across various cities in the US and people expect this to keep growing.

Do you want to know how each of these network providers compares against one another regarding coverage of 5G internet access in the United States? Keep reading so that you can make an informative decision of which carrier to select as your home network.

5G Network Coverage Map: Verizon

Verizon launched its “nationwide” 5G network that uses the Sub-6 spectrum after decades of relying solely on mmWave and only reaching a limited portion of the region. Although it is accessible in far more locations than mmWave, the coverage is still restricted across the nation, and it is mostly limited to heavily populated regions. When you finally get it, the minimum you should expect to receive is decent speeds. The advantage that Verizon has is that its’ 4G network is remarkably reliable, providing excellent speeds to its’ users.

Despite the reality that mmWave is still extremely unstable, Verizon’s 5G network continues to rely strongly on it for 5G coverage (which it refers to as UWB or Ultra BroadBand). mmWave is significantly more challenging to depict with a map online due to range limitations and barrier management. However, just because you see mmWave on a coverage map does not mean you are going to be out of sight of the cell tower if you move 25 feet away. Look at the national 5G coverage when deciding which provider to go with since it is a better indicator of real coverage than mmWave.

If mmWave coverage is essential to you, Verizon’s mmWave network is by far the most extensive and is currently available in hundreds of cities – but, once again, you can only create a 5G link in parts of those cities that limit 5G availability.

Verizon 5G Network Coverage Map

5G Network Coverage Map: AT&T

AT&T contains a nationwide 5G network, but the form of 5G coverage you get can vary depending on where you reside.

A brief rundown of the various forms of 5G: There are two types of 5G technology that people use right now: Sub-6 uses lower frequencies to have a significantly greater network, but the trade-off is that you only get slightly higher speeds than with 4G.  Although mmWave connections use far higher frequencies to provide considerably faster download rates, those radio waves are unable to travel great distances or pass through barriers such as windows or walls, reducing the power or strength of the signal.

The wireless coverage of AT&T’s “nationwide” network is primarily dependent on Sub-6. Since AT&T does not have sufficient spectrum to launch both networks at the very same time, Sub-6 5G may be the same speed, or even slower, than 4G in your area. The organization provides extremely quick mmWave (5G+) services in specific cities, but this form of 5G service is only severely limited to a few streets in several primary cities. There is still much more growth, expansion, and improvement that they can achieve.

It is essential and worth noting that AT&T encourages you to believe you are still on 5G. You may get a small icon stating you are on “5GE” if you do not contain a 5G-compatible mobile device, but that is not really 5G — it is just AT&T’s new marketing term for 4G. You know you are getting authentic 5G service when it states or shows “5G” or “5G+” in the status bar.

AT&T 5G Network Coverage Map

5G Network Coverage Map: T-Mobile

T-Mobile was the initial carrier to roll out a national 5G network; however, it depends heavily on the Sub-6 spectrum, which means it is not going to be as quick as the mmWave networks that many people expect when they hear the word “5G” or witness carrier TV ads. T-plan Mobile’s has been to roll out Sub-6 5G to the very same towers that already support 4G, resulting in a network size that is virtually identical for both.

Following the integration with Sprint, T-Mobile has begun to roll out mmWave in select cities. T-Mobile, like the competing carriers, is going to ultimately use the mmWave spectrum as one of its’ multitiered networks to meet the want and needs of various population densities in as many locations or cities as possible. Fortunately, unlike other competing networks, it does not display a separate status bar icon when you are on mmWave; instead, the mobile phone easily flips between mmWave and Sub-6, giving you the most efficient available speeds at the time.

Complete coverage is one problem that the 5G network has yet to address. T-5G Mobile’s network is excellent in congested cities, but the total coverage chart lags behind Verizon and AT&T. There are some areas of the world where T-Mobile and Sprint subscribers have no coverage at all, but T-Mobile currently competes with Verizon and AT&T for 5G coverage.

T-Mobile 5G Network Coverage Map

The Availability of 5G Coverage

Ultimately the question is, when do you anticipate a 5G infrastructure in your city? If you live in a densely populated city, at least one of the major carriers is likely to have already launched the 5G service. T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have each launched their Sub-6 5G networks, dubbed “nationwide.”

Despite the fact that all of the big US carriers are working feverishly to construct out 5G networks, the nationwide rollout is bound to take a few years.

It is also worth mentioning that every 5G provider has its’ own plan for deploying the technology. As a result, depending on the chosen carrier, your 5G experience can differ significantly.

Recommended: my last article about 4G vs. 5G.