When Is 5G Coming to the US? (Updated for 2020)

5G isn't yet widely available, but it's coming!

The Wireless Connection
The Wireless Connection
Introduction

5G provides an infrastructure that will change the way you live, supporting faster mobile connections so that you can stream smoother movies, upload videos quicker, and connect more of your devices to the internet with fewer delays.

However, neither 5G service nor 5G phones are available everywhere just yet, and release dates are different for every carrier. With that being said, there are multiple factors affecting the release date of 5G in the US, though progress is being made daily for a speedy 5G rollout.

US 5G Rollout

Illustration of a person looking at a 5G screen on a smartphone in front of a map of the US
Julie Bang / Lifewire
  • Verizon: Fixed and mobile 5G is live in several areas.
  • AT&T: Mobile 5G for customers in hundreds of cities.
  • T-Mobile/Sprint: Available in thousands of locations.
  • U.S. Cellular: Works in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Maine; others later this year.
  • C Spire: Fixed 5G in Mississippi.
  • Charter's Spectrum Mobile: Began providing 5G in March 2020.
  • Comcast/Xfinity: Rolled out in select locations in May 2020.
  • Starry: Fixed 5G currently in Boston, Denver, LA, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
  • Simple Mobile: Nationwide coverage powered by T-Mobile.
  • Nex-Tech Wireless: 5G will launch by the third quarter of 2020.
  • US Mobile: Should be up and running via Verizon's network in 2020.
  • Mint Mobile: Available in thousands of US cities from July 2020.
  • Cricket Wireless: Began offering services in August 2020.

Not in the US? See our article 5G Availability Around the World for release dates in other countries like Japan, China, and Australia.

Verizon

Verizon currently offers 5G broadband internet, called 5G Home, in areas of Houston TX, Sacramento CA, Indianapolis IN, Los Angeles CA, Chicago IL, and Detroit MI. Pre-orders for Verizon 5G Home started on September 13, 2018, and service began October 1.

Mobile 5G from Verizon began rolling out on April 3, 2019, and is currently available in parts of 36 cities. Verizon will continue expanding the mobile network throughout 2020.

Verizon 5G Home

Anyone who purchases Verizon 5G Home will get free 5G service for three months. After the free period, Verizon Wireless customers with a qualifying plan pay $50 /month for their home 5G service, and non-members pay $70 /month (these are not annual contracts).

Verizon 5G Home customers have no data caps and can expect speeds ranging from 300 Mbps to up to around 1 Gbps, depending on location. This video from Verizon shows one 5G Home user's download, upload, and latency results.

Anyone who receives Verizon's 5G service will also get YouTube TV free for the first month, a complimentary Disney+ subscription for a year, three months of Stadia Pro with Stadia Premiere Edition, and Stream TV.

The cities mentioned above that qualify for Verizon 5G Home were some of the first areas where the company began testing 5G, so they might provide 5G in other test locations, including Atlanta, Brockton, Dallas, Bernardsville, Denver, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Miami, and Washington, DC. It’s also possible that other larger cities like New York City will have access to Verizon’s 5G service in 2020.

Verizon Mobile 5G

Mobile 5G service from Verizon began in early April 2019 and is currently available in limited areas, with more expected throughout 2020.

Parts of these cities are where you can get Verizon's mobile 5G service right now: Chicago IL, Minneapolis MN, Denver CO, Providence RI, St. Paul MN, Atlanta GA, Detroit MI, Indianapolis IN, Washington DC, Phoenix AZ, New York City NY, Panama City FL, Boise ID, Dallas TX, Omaha NE, Boston MA, Houston TX, Sioux Falls SD, Los Angeles CA, Des Moines IA, Hoboken NJ, Memphis TN, Miami FL, Grand Rapids MI, Charlotte NC, Greensboro NC, Salt Lake City UT, Spokane WA, Hampton Roads VA, Columbus OH, Cleveland OH, Little Rock AR, Kansas City MO, Cincinnati OH, San Diego CA, and San Jose CA.

Verizon's mobile 5G service costs an extra $10 per month on Start Unlimited plans. Several phones from Verizon can use their 5G network, including the Samsung S20 Ultra 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, moto z3 or z4 combined with the 5G moto mod, and the Inseego MiFi M1000.

AT&T

AT&T claimed nationwide 5G status in 2020. Beginning December 21, 2018, and continuing currently, the company offers mobile 5G in hundreds of cities.

5G from AT&T is available in two forms. One operates on the mmWave spectrum and is called 5G+. It's available in 35 cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, West Hollywood, Jacksonville, Orlando, Atlanta, Las Vegas, New York City, King of Prussia, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Waco, and others.

AT&T's low-band 5G network works in 395 areas, including Birmingham AL, Indianapolis IN, Los Angeles CA, Milwaukee WI, Pittsburgh PA, Providence RI, Rochester NY, San Diego CA, San Francisco CA, San Jose CA, Wichita KS, Dayton OH, Boston MA, Allentown PA, Brown County IN, Hancock County GA, Hancock County OH, Harrisburg PA, Topeka KS, Trenton NJ, and others.

The initial rollout was available to particular businesses and consumers only, but AT&T for consumers launched on December 13, 2019. Service is available via several 5G phones.

T-Mobile & Sprint

T-Mobile launched their nationwide 5G network on December 2, 2019, and continues to add more locations to its 5G coverage area. The Metro by T-Mobile prepaid service started offering access to the 5G network on December 6, 2019.

Sprint and T-Mobile have merged into one company. If you're a Sprint user, depending on the phone you have, you've lost 5G coverage in some areas where service was previously available. Eventually, some phones will stop working on both 5G networks.

By September, 2018, T-Mobile had implemented its 5G backbone in over 1,000 cities in 36 states. In early 2019, T-Mobile confirmed that on the 600 MHz spectrum, one 5G tower can transmit signals over one thousand square miles.

Compared to millimeter waves which cover a very small area, low-band waves can blast 5G coverage over hundreds of square miles from just one cell tower.

Users can one day expect to achieve an average download speed of 450 Mbps, with maximum 5G speeds around 4 Gbps by 2024.

Since the Sprint and T-Mobile merger has taken place, the company could offer in-home 5G services, too. According to an FCC filing, by 2024, "The combined company will be able to offer this service to over 52 percent of zip codes across the county."

Simple Mobile is a service provider that uses T-Mobile's towers, so it also offers nationwide 5G service.

U.S. Cellular

U.S. Cellular is another carrier launching 5G in 2020. Service began on March 6, 2020, and at this time works in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Maine, specifically in parts of Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Waterloo, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Racine, Belgrade, Greene, Belfast, Rumford, and others.

The long-term plan is to reach the whole country, but the next phase is to enable the new network in these states: California, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

See the U.S. Cellular 5G coverage map for details, and check out their 5G phone offerings here.

The company began testing 5G for fixed wireless access in 2016 with Nokia, followed by rural and urban 5G testing with Ericsson in 2017. In early 2019, U.S. Cellular again tested various 5G use cases with Ericsson, like virtual reality, augmented reality, and massive MIMO, in both urban and rural areas.

Following 5G testing with Ericsson, they selected the Swiss company to deploy 5G to its customers. They also partnered with Nokia in early 2019 in a 5G modernization deal.

C Spire

C Spire, the largest privately held wireless provider in the US, launched a 5G fixed wireless access service in December 2018. The 5G service from C Spire costs $50 /month, has no data cap or long-term contract, and offers peak speeds of up to 200 Mbps.

5G is currently available for select customers in 31 Mississippi counties. Check their 5G availability to see if C Spire's 5G service is offered where you live, or fill out this form to express your interest in getting 5G in your neighborhood.

You can even get free 5G internet from C Spire by becoming a 5G Internet Hub Home, which is where you agree to let C Spire attach 5G equipment to your house which is then relayed to your neighbors, thus extending their network.

The 5G FWA service from C Spire uses 28 GHz equipment provided by Phazr. Despite the standard service speed set at 120 Mbps, users have reportedly been able to achieve download speeds of up to 750 Mbps and upload speeds as fast as 600 Mbps, with latency as low as 8 ms.

The company's president says that C Spire "plans to deploy fixed wireless internet service to thousands of consumers and businesses across the state over the next several years."

Charter

Charter's Spectrum Mobile is rolling out 5G services across dozens of cities, including Omaha, Dallas, Boston, Detroit, Washington D.C., St. Paul, Denver, Miami, Spokane, and Kansas City. Check specific coverage with their 5G map.

See Spectrum's 5G phones for all of the devices that work on their 5G network.

Customers with their $45 /month unlimited plan can get 5G service for no additional cost.

Comcast

Comcast (Xfinity) offers 5G through an MVNO agreement with Verizon. 5G service is included in their data plans at no extra charge.

Check out Xfinity's 5G coverage map or this list of where 5G is available now and where it's launching soon. Xfinity's mobile phones page lists 5G phones currently available.

Starry

Starry has fixed 5G services available in Boston MA, Denver CO, Los Angeles CA, New York City NY, and Washington DC. The 5G plan from Starry runs $50 /month for 200 Mbps speeds and no data cap.

The company has plans to bring 5G to homes in other US cities but it's unclear when it will take place. They include Cleveland OH, Chicago IL, Houston TX, Dallas TX, Seattle WA, Detroit MI, Atlanta GA, Indianapolis IN, San Francisco CA, Philadelphia PA, Miami FL, Memphis TN, Phoenix AZ, Minneapolis MN, Manchester NH, Portland OR, and Sioux Falls SD.

Starry Connect is a program that provides free or low-cost 5G internet to buildings in low-income areas. See Starry: Technology to learn more about how they're implementing 5G.

Nex-Tech Wireless

Nex-Tech Wireless and Ericsson reached a deal in April 2020 to deploy 5G by the third quarter of 2020.

As of March 2020:

Nex-Tech Wireless is currently working to deploy 600MHz sites that are 5G ready with spectrum in each of the bands.

Nex-Tech Wireless currently provides 4G LTE and 3G coverage in these areas of the United States.

US Mobile

US Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that operates on Verizon's and T-Mobile's networks.

They will offer 5G service to customers via Verizon's towers in 2020, but you can get early access for 3 months at $100.

Mint Mobile

5G became available from Mint Mobile in July 2020. Since it uses T-Mobile's network, it's available from those same cities. It's free on all their plans.

You can read more about it, and find compatible devices, on their Mint Mobile 5G page.

Boom! Mobile

Boom! Mobile runs their service using other networks' towers, and one option they have is 5G service. Boom! BLUE is the plan type that supports 5G. See their Boom! Mobile 5G Access page for all the details.

Cricket Wireless

Piggybacking on AT&T's network, Cricket Wireless has been offering 5G since August 21, 2020.

Access is currently available only with the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G phone; check this page for updates on supported devices. Their wireless coverage map details where it works.