Internet, Networking, & Security > 5G The Current State of 5G: A Look at Verizon 5G services are not all the same, especially as roll-outs continue By Tim Fisher Tim Fisher Facebook Twitter Senior Vice President & Group General Manager, Tech & Sustainability Emporia State University Tim Fisher has more than 30 years' of professional technology experience. He's been writing about tech for more than two decades and serves as the VP and General Manager of Lifewire. lifewire's editorial guidelines Published on January 21, 2022 Tweet Share Email 5G isn’t so new anymore. By now, most people have heard of it and understand it’s the next generation of mobile connectivity after 4G. If you’re thinking about getting a new 5G phone or connecting to a home or business internet service powered by 5G, however, it’s important to do your homework. Several major carriers in the U.S. offer a 5G plan but they’re not all created equal. Pricing, coverage areas, perks, and compatible phones can vary. Even the “type” of 5G a carrier uses can sometimes make the difference between a good 5G experience and an amazing one. 5G is Not Just for Phones Anymore Now that 5G has gained a foothold in the U.S., it’s becoming more evident how it can be used beyond smartphones. While it’s common for most new phones to support 5G, some carriers are using the technology in other areas as well. For example, Verizon isn’t just using 5G to improve wireless phone connections, it is now using it to power internet connections in homes and businesses via its 5G Home and 5G Business Internet options. Currently, these services allow business and home internet connections in some areas to take advantage of the speed and security that 5G can offer. Verizon’s approach is to offer a simple, easy set up for homes and businesses with no annual or long-term contracts. 5G-based internet allows users a relatively simple way to connect to a high-speed network without complex setups and is a great choice for those who have struggled to get fast internet access. 5G Accessibility is Expanding Verizon/Mapbox Next-generation technology is pointless unless you can actually use it, of course. Although some rural parts of the country are still waiting for 5G, all the major carriers are working hard to expand coverage areas to provide this faster connectivity to as many people as possible. Verizon excels in making this happen in two major ways: device compatibility and network availability. Those two aspects of 5G are the key ingredients to getting as many people as possible online and using this ultra-fast network. Besides offering a full line of 5G phones from all the big phone makers, Verizon is also expanding its 5G Ultra Wideband network around the country, particularly in urban areas, and continually broadening its 5G reach. In fact, since 2019, more than 80 cities have been added to the list of 5G Ultra Wideband locations. Chicago and Minneapolis were the first to experience 5G Ultra Wideband, but it’s now available in dozens of other cities, including parts of Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Miami, and Philadelphia. This month, more than 100 million people in 1,700-plus cities around the nation will have access to 5G Ultra Wideband. One reason Verizon is making such fast progress is because it has been securing agreements with tower partners, installing C-band equipment, and driving performance of 5G on C-band. C-band refers to a specific section of the wireless spectrum used to provide 5G. Having dedicated equipment and access to this spectrum means Verizon can offer great capacity, high speeds and improved coverage. Today’s 5G Ultra Wideband = Ultra-fast Speeds We’ve all become accustomed to 4G LTE service and, while it was an amazing upgrade to the 3G of yesteryear, our demands for bandwidth regularly push it to the limit. Dropped calls in crowded places, choppy streaming and gaming, and pixelated video calls can occur with a technology that wasn’t built to keep up with this many people doing this many things at the same time on the same network. Thana Prasongsin/Getty 5G promises to be an improvement but even it, too, has varying degrees of speed and capabilities. Low-band 5G, for example, performs comparably to 4G LTE and is widely available; high-band, mmWave-based 5G, by contrast, has far more limited coverage but offers much higher speeds and capacity than 4G LTE. The sweet spot is mid-band 5G, which offers good coverage and strong performance. And this is why Verizon’s expansion of 5G Ultra Wideband with mid-band, C-band spectrum is so important. Verizon will soon be able offer extremely high speeds for amplified services and improved user experiences to over 100 million consumers around the country. So what does this mean for you? Simply put: if you are in the Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband coverage area, it can mean faster mobile internet access, HD audio and video, and increased usability when connected in crowded situations or packed cities. This translates to things you use your phone and internet for every day like live streaming, low-lag mobile gaming, crystal-clear video calls, and near real-time AR/VR. In other words, all the things you’re used to doing now are vastly improved on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. Increased speeds also mean new experiences, too. Take gaming, for example, where Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband can give you console-quality gameplay … from your phone! For years, the development and quality of mobile games has been limited by network speeds and the processing power of mobile devices. Let’s face it: Older smartphones just can’t handle blazing-fast gameplay, let alone fast gameplay with outstanding graphics. Take a look at the Verizon Coverage Map to see up-to-date specifics on where 5G Ultra Wideband is available. Now, however, game developers can rewrite the rules for creating eye-popping, graphics-rich multiplayer action, and focus on making the best games possible, while worrying less about hardware and network limitations. When connected to 5G Ultra Wideband, your 5G phone will be able to keep up with the new games they write, you’ll have a richer experience playing, and you’ll be able to play faster than ever. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband solves all of these problems. It’s up to 10x faster, has super low latency which will help you seem like you’re right there in the office, works in very crowded places, and is more secure than the coffee shop Wi-Fi. The 5G Ultra Wideband network is more secure than public networks because it’s a private, fully encrypted network.