Here’s how to find out if 5G is available in your area, on your network

Sep 12, 2020, 4:05 AM
(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Q: Looking at buying a 5G smartphone, so what’s the best way to see where 5G is available in my area?

A: The race to roll out 5G in major metro areas is well underway, and with Apple rumored to be announcing their first 5G iPhone soon, the race should heat up even more.

First steps

Knowing if 5G cells exist where you live, commute and work is your first step to deciding whether you should buy now or wait. Keep in mind, when it comes to technology, waiting always gets you more for less.

If you’re tied to a contract, you may find that waiting until the term has been completed to switch to another carrier is your best bet.

Each of the carriers have created 5G coverage maps, but they’re not as detailed as other resources that leverage user data to show actual results.

Verizon coverage maps

Verizon is primarily focused on deploying high band cells which will provide the fastest speeds available but the shortest range, which means you’ll need to be near the cells for true 5G speeds.

You can look up 5G coverage for the 36 metro areas that they’re currently in here.

Their map isn’t very intuitive — it starts with a basic outline with some indictors of where the cells are located that you must click on to load the actual coverage map. Once it’s opened, you can drag the map around to check adjacent areas from the primary view.

T-Mobile/Sprint coverage maps

The recent merger between the two companies will eventually lead to the combining of the various 5G cell technologies each company is deploying which I wrote about earlier this year.

Taken at face value, both the T-Mobile map and the Sprint map may seem to imply that 5G coverage is available in large areas.

T-Mobile is deploying Low Band 5G in a lot of areas, which is essentially an enhanced version of 4G with speeds that are about the same or slightly faster. Low band signals have a much larger range and can penetrate structures better than higher band signals, but the trade-off is speed.

The Sprint map also has an icon that says “Live, Work, Play” next to the address form that allows you to use three different addresses and create a route to see how the coverage matches up.

AT&T coverage maps

AT&T’s coverage map allows you to enter a zip code, a specific address or your state to get started.

They also have the routing option for commuters that can be accessed by clicking on the “my route” link.

AT&T’s approach to 5G didn’t get great marks from PCMag.

Third-party coverage maps

A more concise approach to reporting coverage is from actual users of each carrier in your area, which is another great reason not to rush into a decision.

As more users of these apps switch to 5G phones, the data at sites like RootMetrics and Ookla will become more detailed.

One of my favorite coverage apps called OpenSignal has yet to include 5G data, but watch for that to be updated in the near future.

Data Doctors

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 file photo, the logo of Google is displayed on a carpet at the...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

In need of Gmail storage space cleanup tips? Here are a few to get you started

If you haven’t done much in the past to keep the clutter from building up in your Gmail account, there are a number of places where you can free up valuable storage space.
7 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

Here are the latest online shopping tips for 2021

As the holiday seasons drives up purchase volumes, here are the latest online shopping safety tips.
14 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Column: Does Windows 11 Need Anti-Virus Software?

With all of the new security features in Windows 11, here's why you should consider security software packages.
21 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

What to consider when deciding whether to buy or rent Internet router, modem

There are pros and cons to both sides of the buy-versus-rent an internet modem/router question and there is no single answer for everyone.
28 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Data Doctors

Column: Why computer extended warranties are a waste

When it comes to computers, there are a variety of reasons that buying ‘extra protection’ up front can be a waste of money.
1 month ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Yes, you can take presentable astronomy photos on phone camera

While serious astrophotography requires a pile of expensive DSLR camera equipment, you can actually get decent images from your smartphone with a little work.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
Here’s how to find out if 5G is available in your area, on your network