DATA DOCTORS

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. http://soc.att.com/2ZrFXjB

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

(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

How to maximize accuracy, experience with dropped pins on Google Maps

Here are a few tips for maximizing your experience and accuracy with dropped pins on Google Maps in any part of the world.
6 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Here are tips for switching your email from Cox to Gmail

If you're a user interested in switching your email from Cox to Gmail, here are a few tips to make the conversion easy and organized.
13 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

What you need to know about the upcoming 3G shutdown

It’s hard to remember what a game changer 3G was when it first rolled out in the early 2000s, but all of the major carriers plan on shutting down those networks in 2022.
20 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Comparing private search engines and understanding its benefits

Google’s search engine is considered the most powerful but the trade-off is that you give up privacy through their expansive tracking technologies. If you want to avoid the tracking but still get excellent search results, a private search engine does just that.
27 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

The Log4j threat: What everyone should do

In what is considered one of the most widespread and dangerous vulnerabilities to be discovered in a very long time, the Log4j problem is going to be a threat that will likely linger for a long time -- here's what you can do.
1 month ago
In this Thursday, March 12, 2015 photo, a first-grader learns keyboarding skills at Bayview Element...
Data Doctors

Here’s how to navigate computer shortcuts between Mac and Windows

Q: I’ve been a Mac user for a long time, but have to use Windows for my new job, which makes it confusing when I try to use shortcuts. A: Operating on both the Windows and Mac platforms on a regular basis has become a lot more common and for those that use a lot […]
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

HVAC upkeep in Arizona saves money, keeps families prepared in the long run

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
Here’s how to find out if 5G is available in your area, on your network