If you’ve been paying attention to technology advancements in the cell phone world, you’ve probably heard, read, or seen a few references to 5G, which, if the tech media is to be believed, will make all our wildest dreams come true.
That claim might stretch it a bit, but we will see significant improvements over 4G. That makes it worth looking at the 5G Home Internet Coverage Map to see when and what kind of service will be available to you. It might be already.
The map is intended to make it easy to discern what speeds can be expected when a 5G connection comes to your neck of the woods. For businesses, understanding the map could be critical in deciding where might be good locations to expand or relocate to.
While it might seem that an internet connection is too flimsy of a reason to base an entire relocation decision around, 5G will be that serious of an upgrade.
The obvious question is, precisely what is 5G home internet anyway?
We’re glad you asked.
While the “G” network versions (1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) have always been closely associated with smartphones primarily and tablets to a lesser extent, today’s 5G is becoming just as closely allied with home internet as well.
And therein lies the changing of the game.
5G, a type of broadband internet, is a fixed wireless service. The way it works has more in common with the sometimes cursed satellite internet than its other broadband brethren like DSL, cable, or fiber optic - all of these rely on a physical medium like coaxial cable to deliver your internet signal.
The thing that cell phone service providers realized as 5G came online was that they could provide home internet service wirelessly using the same cell towers they already owned. The signal is beamed from the tower to a small receiver dish mounted on or near your house.
The advantages of 5G over satellite are numerous. It’s faster, cheaper, and has no hard data limits. So why doesn’t everybody rush to snatch up a 5G home internet package? In a word, the problem is availability. It is expected to be an option for around 50% of the US within a few years; however, right now, only about 15% of households have access to sign up.
And if you’re wondering exactly why you would even want 5G, here are five reasons:
And now, we get to the vital part of this whole article. How can you put the 5G Home Internet Coverage Map to work for you? To answer that, we’ll delve into the continuing rollout of 5G, the vendors involved, and when you can expect access to this technology if you haven’t already.
If you are one of the fortunate few with access to Verizon 5G home internet, count yourself lucky. This is the Cadillac quality standard - by that, we mean speed - for the new network technology.
With Verizon, expect speeds ranging from 300 Mbps to a mind-bending 1,000 Mbps. For those who detested math in school, that equals a smooth 1Gbps, which is pretty darn close to what most of the lauded fiber optic packages offer.
By now, you’re probably sold. Give me Verizon 5G and give it to me now. We’d love to, but there’s one problem; availability. What Verizon offers in quality, it lacks in quantity. There’s a good chance 5G wireless for the home is unavailable where you live.
Take a look at the map below. While it seems like the blue for service availability covers most of the continental US, you should be aware that even though a state like California is blue, 5G isn’t available to the whole state. If you read the fine print, you’ll find that only residents of nine cities (like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, etc.) can access it.
As you see, Verizon has a long way to go before it can be termed “widely available.” Both T-Mobile and Ultra offer much more coverage.
As opposed to the tiny 5G home internet footprint left by Verizon, T-Mobile’s service is already available to around 30 million households spread over 40 states. Speeds currently hit around 100 Mbps, which isn’t bad. It’s comparable to the high-end DSL and cable internet packages.
The bad news is that T-Mobile only offers a free installation option if you do it yourself. This is a break from other providers, who will set up the equipment at no extra charge. Additionally, all kinds of built-in security features should ease your mind about data breaches or other types of cybercrime.
If you check the states shaded in blue and the number of black dots representing cities, you’ll see that T-Mobile's coverage footprint is much more robust than Verizon’s.
Starry Internet is a newcomer to the fixed wireless internet game. It also is distinguished by the fact that it is only a 5G home internet provider and not a wireless carrier. Starry operates its service by leasing space on towers owned by other wireless providers like Verizon.
Right now, the speeds are looking good. You can expect up to 200 Mbps download speeds and an almost unheard-of 115 Mbps for uploads.
As expected, availability is limited to 67 markets in 25 states. Starry doesn’t have any promotional pricing to take advantage of but offers free professional installation for new customers.
Check out the coverage map below for more details on the 5G home internet service from Starry.
Ultra is another 5G home internet option, though probably not as good as the others we’ve mentioned due to a few drawbacks. Primary among these are the data caps they impose at 25-150 GB, depending on your location.
The price for an Ultra plan runs around five bucks more than the others. You should also keep in mind that, in many ways, Ultra’s home internet service resembles a satellite package thanks to the data caps, which make any kind of 4k streaming or video conferencing pretty much unworkable.
However, if you’re in an area with no DSL, Cable, or fiber optic, AND satellite is the only option, an Ultra plan would be a step above that. The chart below lets you compare the major 5G home internet service providers we’ve just discussed.
Things are happening fast in the 5G home internet space, which is good news for you. Coverage maps from phone service providers and dedicated wireless internet services are constantly updated, so drop your zip code in our free cell phone deal tool to catch up on the latest deals before they expire.
The new home internet service provided by the 5G rollout is one of the most exciting (and probably profitable) things to come along in a while. Expect it to advance quickly. You might have to make do with your current unsatisfactory internet connection for a few more years but expect by the middle of the decade that there will be a good chance the service will be available.
Remember not to sign a long-term contract with another internet type if your ultimate goal is to score some sweet 5G home internet.
For now, check out those coverage maps and keep your eyes on the blue states and black dots within them.