Major US Carriers Expand Their 5G Networks: The coronavirus pandemic may be pumping the brakes on phone sales, but it isn’t stopping 5G. Despite an onslaught of conspiracy theories that have resulted in physical damage to 5G towers, the major US carriers — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile continue to add new 5G phones and expand their networks.
For example, Verizon made it possible to upload content like photos and videos over its faster 5G network.
That came to 35 cities in late May, including New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami. Meanwhile, Verizon also announced the sale date for the world’s only standard Samsung Galaxy S20 to support the fastest type of 5G speeds. That happens June 4.
AT&T now says its 5G network covers 120 million people and is promising a path for cheaper 5G phones. While T-Mobile and Sprint have merged, the two sides are still in the process of consolidating into a single carrier (“the new T-Mobile”), which should make it a formidable competitor in the 5G space. For now, you can still sign up for a 5G plan from Sprint.
So what does this mean for you and your future 5G phone? Depending on where you live, you may not see a 5G network for a while, especially if you live somewhere more rural than urban.
And if 5G is already in your area, coverage zones may be small and the reception may be iffy — the carriers say they’re constantly improving their network capacity. When the time comes, you’ll need to know which carrier gives you the most for your money.
The current 4G data network will get faster
The 5G rollout across the US will happen slowly. Apple, for example, is rumored to be launching up to three 5G iPhones in late 2020, partly because of the impact of the coronavirus. One analyst has predicted that sales of 5G phones won’t eclipse those of 4G devices till 2023.
In the meantime, 4G networks will continue to carry the wireless load for the mobile carriers, just as 3G saw us through the transition to 4G. 4G networks are also slated to get faster as 5G networks build up, so even if you’re not immediately on 5G, 4G should see some benefit, too.
Be aware of unusual claims about 5G coverage. AT&T tried to get ahead of the 5G wave earlier this year, displaying a “5G E” icon on a handful of its 4G phones. Under pressure, the company stepped back from marketing the confusing 5G claim, although it remains an icon on their phones.
Remember, 5G is an inevitability, the same way that 4G replaced 3G before it. Eventually, it will come to us all. Whether you decide to pick a 5G network now or wait to see how 5G rolls out in your area.