5G deployment has been rapidly advancing across the United States. Major carriers have made significant efforts to roll out 5G networks in various cities, towns, and even rural areas. Here’s a detailed breakdown of 5G availability in the U.S. by major carriers:
Verizon, one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the U.S., has been actively deploying 5G in two primary forms:
- 5G Ultra Wideband (UWB): This is Verizon’s faster, mmWave-based 5G, which provides incredibly high speeds but has a shorter range. It’s available primarily in parts of larger cities, around landmarks, stadiums, and other high-traffic areas.
- 5G Nationwide: Utilizes dynamic spectrum sharing to offer broader coverage, but at speeds closer to 4G. It’s available to a large percentage of the U.S. population.
Cities with 5G UWB (partial list, as of October 2023):
- New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Washington, D.C., and most other major urban areas.
AT&T has been rapidly expanding its 5G network, encompassing:
- 5G (standard): Available in many cities, towns, and even rural areas.
- 5G+ (mmWave): This is AT&T’s faster 5G, available in parts of some cities, much like Verizon’s UWB.
Cities with 5G+ (partial list, as of October 2023):
- New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, and most other major urban areas.
T-Mobile, after its merger with Sprint, has had a substantial 5G push, offering:
- Extended Range 5G: Provides broader coverage and is available to a significant portion of the U.S. population, including many rural areas.
- Ultra Capacity 5G: Offers higher speeds and is being rolled out in cities and towns across the country.
Cities with Ultra Capacity 5G (partial list, as of October 2023):
- New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and more.
4. US Cellular:
Although not as large as the aforementioned three, US Cellular is another significant carrier offering 5G services, especially in regions where other big players might not have as strong a presence.
- 5G Coverage: US Cellular initiated its 5G rollout in parts of Iowa and Wisconsin and has since expanded to other states. As of late 2023, US Cellular’s 5G services were available in parts of California, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. It’s essential to note that “parts of” doesn’t mean statewide coverage but rather select cities and areas within these states.
- Partnerships: US Cellular has partnered with vendors like Ericsson to build out its 5G infrastructure, ensuring that they utilize top-tier tech for their deployment.
5. Regional Carriers and MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators):
- MVNOs like Metro (by T-Mobile), Cricket (by AT&T), and Visible (by Verizon) leverage the parent company’s network to offer 5G services. So, the 5G coverage of these MVNOs typically mirrors the coverage of their respective parent companies.
- Regional Carriers: There are several smaller, regional carriers throughout the US that either have begun 5G rollouts or are planning to. These carriers often cater to specific states or regions. Examples include C Spire in Mississippi or GCI in Alaska.
- The exact locations and range of 5G coverage within cities vary. For instance, while a city may have 5G coverage, it might not be available in all parts of that city.
- The roll-out of 5G has been continuous. New areas are getting added, and the existing coverage is becoming denser.
- Many carriers offer coverage maps on their websites to provide real-time data on 5G availability.
If you’re interested in the most current details about 5G coverage for a specific area or carrier, it’s actually NOT a good idea to check the respective carrier’s official website because they will always boast huge coverage areas on their maps when in reality the coverage can be rather spotty outside of major cities and highways. Instead you can check out this community contributed coverage map by Stetson Doggett.
Coverage by State and Region:
- New York: NYC and major cities like Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany have seen 5G deployment, particularly with Verizon’s UWB and T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G.
- Massachusetts: Boston has 5G coverage from all major carriers, with other large cities like Worcester and Springfield also getting service.
- Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have extensive 5G coverage. Many smaller cities and towns also have some form of 5G.
- Other states like New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware have 5G in their larger cities and towns, with coverage expanding.
- Illinois: Chicago has seen significant 5G rollout from all carriers. Other cities like Springfield and Rockford also have coverage.
- Michigan: Detroit, Grand Rapids, and other major cities have 5G. The network is expanding to more rural areas.
- Ohio: Cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus have extensive 5G coverage.
- Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and other Midwest states have 5G in their major cities and are gradually expanding.
- Texas: Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and many other cities have 5G coverage. Texas, being vast, is seeing rapid expansion of 5G to smaller towns.
- Florida: Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and many other cities have 5G from all major carriers.
- Georgia: Atlanta has extensive 5G coverage, with other cities like Savannah also having access.
- North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, and other southern states have 5G in major cities, with expanding coverage in smaller cities and towns.
- California: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and many other cities have 5G. California, given its size and economic importance, has seen rapid 5G expansion.
- Washington: Seattle, Spokane, and other cities have 5G coverage.
- Oregon: Portland and other major cities have 5G.
- Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and other western states have 5G in major cities and are seeing rapid expansion.
- Arizona: Major cities like Phoenix and Tucson have extensive 5G coverage, with many other towns and cities experiencing ongoing rollouts.
- New Mexico: Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces are among the cities with 5G access.
- Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and other significant areas are covered by 5G.
6. Rocky Mountains:
- Colorado: Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, and Boulder are some of the cities with 5G networks. Expansion is happening into the mountain areas, although topography can be a challenge for signal propagation.
- Utah: Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden have 5G. The network is expanding to other areas.
- Idaho: Boise and a few other major regions have 5G coverage, with ongoing expansion.
- Montana and Wyoming: 5G is primarily in larger cities like Billings and Cheyenne. Given the rural nature of these states, 5G deployment can be slower and more challenging, but efforts are ongoing.
7. Great Plains:
- North Dakota and South Dakota: Major cities like Fargo and Sioux Falls have 5G. Due to the vast rural landscapes, carriers are strategizing on best deploying 5G in these states.
- Nebraska: Omaha, Lincoln, and other significant areas have 5G networks.
- Kansas: Apart from the previously mentioned Kansas City, cities like Wichita also have 5G deployment.
- Arkansas: Little Rock and other significant areas have 5G coverage.
- Mississippi: Cities like Jackson have 5G, with expansion ongoing in other regions.
- Kentucky: Louisville, Lexington, and other major cities are covered by 5G.
- West Virginia: Charleston, Morgantown, and several other areas have access to 5G.
9. U.S. Territories:
- Puerto Rico: San Juan and other major areas have begun to see 5G rollouts.
- Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands: Limited 5G deployment and trials in more populated areas, with future expansion planned.
10. Alaska and Hawaii:
- Alaska: Anchorage and a few other locations have started seeing 5G rollouts.
- Hawaii: Honolulu and other major areas on the islands have 5G.
Challenges and Future Expansion:
- Topography: Mountainous regions, dense forests, and vast rural areas pose challenges for 5G deployment. Effective coverage in such areas requires more infrastructure, such as towers and repeaters.
- Infrastructure Costs: Deploying 5G is capital-intensive, especially in less populated regions. Carriers must weigh the return on investment when prioritizing these areas.
- Local Regulations: Zoning laws, local opposition to tower installations, and other regional factors can slow down 5G deployment in specific areas.
- Continual Evolution: As 5G technology continues to evolve, carriers will not only expand their coverage but also upgrade existing infrastructure to provide faster speeds and better service.
- Competition: The competition among carriers often drives faster deployment. As one carrier expands its 5G network, others are incentivized to catch up, benefiting consumers.
Infrastructure & Equipment Providers:
It’s worth noting the involvement of tech giants in the 5G rollout:
- Ericsson and Nokia: These European tech giants are significant players in the U.S. 5G infrastructure landscape, supplying much of the necessary equipment for the 5G buildout.
- Samsung: Apart from being a major 5G smartphone manufacturer, Samsung has also been actively involved in providing 5G infrastructure solutions in the US.
- Huawei: While a significant player globally, Huawei’s involvement in U.S. 5G infrastructure has been limited due to various government restrictions.
Future of 5G in the US:
- Expansion & Densification: Carriers will continue to expand their 5G coverage maps to cover more areas, including rural locations. Moreover, in places where 5G is already available, carriers will work on densification – adding more infrastructure to improve network capacity and speed.
- New Frequencies: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been auctioning additional frequency bands for 5G use. As carriers secure these frequencies, we can expect improved performance and broader coverage.
- Integration with 6G: While 5G is still in its rollout phase, research into 6G has already commenced. The learnings from 5G deployments will significantly influence how 6G will be introduced in the next decade.
- 5G for Specific Uses: Beyond standard consumer use, we’ll see 5G tailored for specific applications, including IoT (Internet of Things), AR/VR, autonomous vehicles, telemedicine, and more.