Apple has announced that its new flagship phone, the iPhone 12, is 5G powered the first in their smartphones line. Aside from Apple, Google has also recently launched its $500 5G phone.
Also, carriers are now building 5G infrastructures at a steady pace. In September, 121 more cities and towns got T-Mobile's supercharged 5G that delivers super-fast speeds. Meanwhile, Verizon also announced its low-band 5G nationwide network in October and added more cities to its 5G ultra wideband.
So before buying those 5G phones, here are some ways to find out if whether or not you can make use of 5G in your area.
Check if your phone can support 5G
Only three mobile phone brands are known to support 5G signal: the Galaxy S 20 5G, the iPhone 12, and the Pixel 4a 5G. But some brands have falsely marketed their phones with a misleading label that are only slight improvements of the 4G phones, Wired reported.
The first concern about using the 5G signal is if your phone can support the mmWave, a wireless spectrum that is "extremely fast but does not travel very far and has trouble penetrating buildings." Its range is limited as sometimes a block-by-block basis has to be added in dense cities for an added support.
Carriers in the country have been adding 5G networks across the country like Verizon, who announced expanding its support for Ultra-Wideband to some parts of the 55 cities. The mmWave support might not be seen at all unless you live in these areas, but even so, it could still be difficult for a while.
Moreover, the mmWave could add cost to the phone just as how the Pixel 4a's 5G version is $100 more expensive than its non-5G version, and Samsung phones too with 5G, which have a premium charge that is $200 higher.
Carrier coverage maps
Ktar News reported that Verizon is focused on deploying high band cells that will provide fast speeds but at a shorter range, meaning someone using 5G must be near those cells to experience the actual speed of 5G. Here is a map of the 5G coverage of Verizon in 36 metro areas.
Moreover, the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has led to the combination of 5G cell technologies that each company is deploying. That being said, it looks like the T-Mobile Map and Sprint Map covered a large area for 5G.
Meanwhile, AT&T's coverage map will allow its users to enter a zip code to gain access to a specific address or state, and it has a routing option for commuters that can be accessed through clicking the "my route" link. However, AT&T did not get good remarks from PCMag.
Lastly, it also pays to listen to actual users of 5G of each carrier in your area before deciding to buy the latest 5G smartphone. But RootMetrics and Ookla will become more detailed as more users are switching to 5G phones. One coverage app that can be used is the OpenSignal, but they have not yet included the 5G data, so better watch out for their update soon.
Check out more news and information on 5G Network on Science Times.