Verizon 5G Coverage and Plans
From cell phones to self-driving cars, 5G is poised to reinvent the way we connect with the world around us. As one of the first carriers to hit the market with this new mobile technology, Verizon’s 5G network offers some of the fastest recorded download speeds on record, and its capabilities are still growing.
Want in on the 5G revolution? Here’s a breakdown of Verizon’s 5G coverage, plans, speeds, and more.
Verizon 5G Coverage & Availability
Verizon’s initial 5G coverage is currently limited to specific hotspots in select U.S. cities and metro regions as it builds out its Ultra Wideband (UWB) network. You can find 5G hotspots within the following locations:
- Des Moines
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- Panama City
- Salt Lake City
- Sioux Falls
- St. Paul
- Washington, D.C.
All of these hotspots will be in outdoor areas (for example, within 14 NFL football stadiums), due to the shorter length of the high-frequency millimeter waves (mmWave) that Verizon’s 5G spectrum operates on. These waves are blazing fast, but don’t travel as far and can’t penetrate objects or walls like 4G LTE’s mid-band waves can—so until more 5G radios and towers are installed, you’ll have to access your 5G while braving the elements. Eventually, Verizon’s 5G coverage should be able to accommodate up to 1 million devices within a single square kilometer. Of course, you’ll need a 5G-enabled phone to take advantage of nearby hotspots.
Speeds with Verizon 5G
|Verizon 4G LTE||Ultra Wideband 5G|
|Frequency spectrum||700 MHz-2500 MHz||28 and 39 GHz|
|Average download speeds||5-12 Mbps; max 50 Mbps||600-800 Mbps|
|Latency||40-50 ms||Under 30 ms|
As mentioned, Verizon is rolling out its 5G Ultra Wideband network on the highest-frequency spectrum available, which operates on millimeter waves. These waves are insanely fast, offering download speeds that, in some speed tests, have reached almost 1 Gbps. (That’s the equivalent of downloading an entire HD movie in just two minutes.)
Latency (or time delay) is predicted to drop to as little as 10 milliseconds once the network is fully realized, and download speeds are forecasted to reach up to 10 Gbps. This means that your entire household could operate off of your 5G plan.
Verizon’s 5G Rollout Plan
Verizon’s 5G network is adding more locations at a pretty quick pace, having deployed hotspots in five more cities within the last month. The carrier lists the following cities as next to gain 5G hotspots:
- Kansas City
- Little Rock
- San Diego
Because 5G technology can be built upon existing 4G LTE infrastructure, you don’t have to worry about a major drop in coverage when coming in and out of a 5G-enabled location. And as Verizon adds more 5G antennas and radios to its 4G towers, more of the country’s urban and densely populated metro areas will come online.
To reach less populated areas, all the major carriers will need to build more towers to carry the relatively short millimeter waves from place to place, and also find a way to allow the waves to penetrate indoors.
Because Verizon’s 5G coverage is currently limited to specific hotspots—and will be for a number of years to come—you don’t need a 5G-specific plan to access the network when you’re within range. As long as you’re on an eligible unlimited plan with an enabled phone, you can experience 5G where it’s available.
Verizon’s eligible 5G unlimited plans are:
- Play More Unlimited, starting at $45/month
- Do More Unlimited, starting at $45/month
- Get More Unlimited, starting at $55/month
There’s an additional $10 monthly 5G access charge, but Verizon is waiving this fee for a limited time as its network gets up and running.
Verizon 5G vs. Major Carriers
|Carrier||Availability||Frequency||Speed||Plan Cost (1 line)|
|Verizon||Current: Atlanta, Boise, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Greensboro, Hoboken, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, Omaha, Panama City, Phoenix, Providence, Salt Lake City, Sioux Falls, Spokane, St. Paul, Washington, D.C. |
Future: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Kansas City, Little Rock, San Diego
|28 and 39 GHz||600–800 Mbps||Extra $10/month on top of unlimited plan cost—waived for limited time|
|Sprint||Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Washington, D.C.||2.5 GHz||155–255 Mbps||$70-$80/month|
|AT&T||Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Buffalo, Bridgeport, Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Milwaukee, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rochester, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Washington, D.C.||850 MHz||2x faster than LTE||$70-90/month|
|T-Mobile||5,000+ cities||600 MHz||30–100 Mbps||$60-85/month|
Data correct as of 1/16/20.
Verizon’s 5G network is the leader of the pack when it comes to speed. Its wide-spectrum network uses the same mmWave technology as AT&T, making them each a contender for the fastest around (though AT&T hasn’t yet officially reported its initial speed test results), but Verizon’s initial roll-out has been much wider and quicker to come online.
T-Mobile leads the pack for coverage, becoming the first nationwide 5G carrier—in large part because its network is built on a lower-band spectrum using slower radio waves. While that gives it the edge in availability, it also leaves the Uncarrier behind Verizon in speed and latency.
Verizon is currently the only carrier forecasting an extra fee to use its 5G network, though it’s waived it for a limited time. That said, don’t be surprised if the others follow suit once their networks get larger and/or faster. Still, Verizon is typically one of the pricier carriers, while AT&T currently offers the lowest prices for its 5G-eligible unlimited plans.
5G Phones from Verizon
Being within range of one of Verizon’s lightning-fast 5G hotspots will do you no good unless you also have a 5G-enabled phone. Your current smartphone likely doesn’t have the radio receiver capable of accessing 5G technology.
Verizon has a number of 5G-designated phones, including popular smartphones like:
- Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10+ 5G and S10 5G
- LG’s V50 ThinQ 5G
- Motorola’s moto z4 with snap-on 5G moto mod
Other major brands, like Apple and Google, are expected to release 5G phones in the near future. So whether you live near a 5G hotspot or you just want to be prepared for when 5G comes your way, grab yourself the latest technology and experience Verizon’s 5G network for yourself.