5G Without the Hype
Yes, 5G is truly here, but its potential for new heights of consumer experience remains years away. For now, though, let’s look past the Madison Avenue hype and see what 5G looks like today.
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5G Without the Hype
The commercials are breathless. Each of the major phone providers seems to be claiming to have the “most 5G coverage nationwide,” promising speedier connections, greater capabilities, and a more joyful and satisfying life.
Yes, 5G is truly here, but its potential for new heights of consumer experience remains years away. For now, though, let’s look past the Madison Avenue hype and see what it looks like today.
As of the start of 2021, the coverage reaches 75% of the U.S. population, though just a miniscule 8% of devices owned have built-in 5G capability.1 Even with the broad coverage, performance is uneven, though investments are being made to upgrade performance in suburban and urban areas.
In an independent analysis of the major carriers, “Consumer Reports” summarized 5G availability by carrier:2
|AT&T||Service is included in all of its unlimited data plans, covering some 1,400 cities. Click AT&T coverage map for updated list.
|T-Mobile||Available in all its service plans. Coverage includes some 8,300 cities and towns in all 50 states. Find out if you’re covered.
|Verizon||Verizon’s nationwide coverage is available in more than 1,800 communities. All plans include access to 5G, but its faster Ultra Wideband service requires a higher priced plan.
Search coverage map.
|Internet & Cable Providers||Cable providers like Charter Communications and Comcast offer the services, as well.
According to Android Central, a technology evaluator and buyer’s guide publisher, T-Mobile has the best overall 5G network, offering the best balance of speed, coverage and room-to-grow network capacity.
Of course, the nature of technology is such that wearing the throne can be quite the ephemeral experience. In its crowning of T-Mobile, Android Central acknowledged that the approaching release of AT&T’s and Verizon’s C-band spectrum may result in the dethroning of T-Mobile.
It’s reassuring to know that hardware makers are ready for the revolution. The most current models of the major smartphone manufacturers—Apple, Samsung and Google—are equipped to access 5G as it becomes more widespread nationally. There may be no rush to go out and buy one, however, since the capabilities are early days. However, once the revolution arrives, with these new models, Americans will be ready to enjoy the next generation of wireless communication.
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