June 24, 2024

5G Availability: Phones and Providers Currently Offering the Network

While 5G has proven its blazing-fast mobile and home internet speeds, that won’t help you decide if your carrier has the nation’s best 5G network.

Each of the four major carriers – T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint – features 5G in its unlimited data phone plans. You’ll also need a new, network-compatible smartphone such as Samsung’s Galaxy or Apple’s iPhone.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile was the first carrier to not charge extra for 5G coverage and instead included 5G on its unlimited plans; it was the only network to make millimetre wave-based 5G available.

It uses the latter technology, as well as its open-radio-access (low-band spectrum) technology to build out content nationwide, delivering both coverage and speed.

OpenSignal data says that T-Mobile ’s subscribers spend 35 per cent of the time with 5G – the highest in the industry, indicating a popular network with consumers.

The telecoms giant also recently launched a 5G home internet service, overlaid on the wireless network with fibre for a faster, cheaper alternative to cable and DSL internet companies. Check out your eligibility for T-Mobile’s 5G home internet at its website.

AT&T

AT  T launched its 5G network at a slower pace, rolling  out decades-old 4 G LTE  with a souped-up version called ‘5GE’. This was really 4G LTE  labelled as 5G but the speed wasn’t dramatically faster than your run-of-the-mill 4G LTE connection.

Eventually AT  T started  to  deploy  its  actual 5G service, which leverages low-band spectrum, so it offers widespread coverage without losing performance. It also complements that with mmWave for blazingly fast speeds in pockets of dense coverage that make sense for delivery.

In 2023, ATT’s 5G coverage is about on a par with T-Mobile’s, but not as abundant as Verizon’s. You will need a 5G-capable phone and ATT subscription for access. Of course, upgrading with those plans anyway is a prudent policy that anything kids get is going to be a huge engineering leap forward from what you have, so even if you don’t feel the need to upgrade, oh yes, your children will.

Verizon

Users of the ultra-fast 5G network, available from Verizon in the US, benefit from Ultra Wideband service in participating cities for faster download speeds. Visible+ includes it, as speeds are up to 10x faster than 4G.

The firm has been trialling 5G home internet service as well, which gives subscribers the ability to stream movies without buffering – though it’s not nearly as widespread as the cellular plans.

Aside from extra-fast data, 5G networks carry more capacity than the ones before them. Congestion at, say, sports stadiums or music festivals is less likely going forward. That also helps, since 5G can accommodate several high-demand applications at the same time, thanks to its large spectrum capacity and lower latency.

Sprint

Sprint’s 5G offers a hotspot-like layer in parts of many regions of the country, including parts of New York City, using mid-band spectrum, which carries farther than rivals’ ultra-high-band millimetre-wave technology.

T-Mobile, which acquired Sprint back in April, has simply rebranded some of the latter’s 2019-era 5G spectrum as its own, but most 5G devices from Sprint released in 2019 don’t have the Qualcomm X55 modem that would enable them to tap into T-Mobile’s multi-band 5G network.

If you have one, then Sprint would love for you to trade in your device in exchange for an upgrade to the Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ or OnePlus 7 Pro 5G – all of which are perfectly capable of operating on T-Mobile’s 4G networks. T-Mobile customers get to pick their poison in the form of speeds: blazin’ fast 5G or unlimited, but reliable and comparatively slow 4G data. Its least expensive plans include both.

Cellcom

Nsight Wireless, the wireless affiliate of the telecommunications company Nsight, recently rolled out a 5G network in northeast Wisconsin on 7 February that, for now, stretches across Brown County and parts of Shawano and Langlade counties.

In theory, 5G’s big wins are to offer multigigabit (1,000Mbps+) peak download speeds on par with many wireline networks – with low latency – which is critical to many applications.

Businesses will gain from the extra connectivity of 5G, for example because staff can work from home and be more productive. It could revolutionise industry, for businesses can monitor and control robots, drones and factories in real time. They might even allow fully autonomous cars. It could improve the transport network so that passengers can get home quicker and hopefully also reduce traffic jams.