5G coverage is available only in major cities and towns right now.
Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are the three major cellular carriers launching 5G in the United States, and you can access 5G on any of their networks if it’s available in your area. Naturally, you’ll need a wireless plan with one of the providers and a 5G phone or other device to access the network.
Cellular carriers are racing to expand 5G nationwide, but it will take a few years before it’s easily accessible. T-Mobile has the largest network thus far, with a recent merger with Sprint giving it a bigger 5G footprint. It’s pledged to extend 5G access to 50% of American households by the year 2026.3
Verizon expanded its nationwide 5G network in October 2020, adding low- and mid-band versions of 5G that will eventually serve more than 200 million people.4 Up until then, Verizon focused on building out millimeter-wave 5G, which delivered much faster speeds but in isolated urban centers.
Is 5G available in rural areas?
5G is not currently available in many rural areas in the United States, but some versions of 5G may appear on the horizon in the coming years.
Since building a 5G network requires a lot of new infrastructure, these days cellular companies are prioritizing areas with larger populations (and hence more paying customers). But low-band and mid-band forms of 5G will likely come into use in smaller towns and rural areas, while millimeter-wave 5G could be used in rural factories, healthcare centers, and agricultural sites to connect Wi-Fi tools.
Indeed, introducing 5G in rural areas could be a game-changer, giving users the opportunity to get faster speeds and better performance in areas that otherwise have limited Wi-Fi access.