As we settle into mid-2020, 5G has soundly made its presence felt in markets stretching all across the US. What started off as extremely patchy deployment has been getting better, fast, as carriers both bring 5G support to new regions and switch on new frequencies to improve the quality of coverage. But the rapidly changing shape of the 5G landscape has also made it really annoying to keep of what kind of connectivity you can expect from what carriers, where. That's why we're taking a look at the availability of 5G in the US: where it is now, where it's coming next, and how to get it.

The slow path to 5G availability

Considering the physical size of the US, and the mountains of existing infrastructure in place, upgrading the nation's cellular backbone for 5G is no small undertaking. And while all the carriers are eager to demonstrate high-speed 5G availability, actual access to 5G has been plagued by stipulations, misrepresentations, and half-truths.

Some of that stems from confusion and ambiguity over just what counts as "5G," a situation particularly capitalized on by AT&T and its 5G Evolution scheme. And to be fair, there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of, like which frequency bands a particular carrier is using — and understanding why factors like that could influence performance more than on previous-generation networks.

But mostly, we're just waiting for the carriers to flip 5G on, and that's a slow process, market by market. As we inch our way along towards more-or-less nationwide coverage, we're keeping track of the four big networks and their efforts to deliver 5G. Where coverage is currently available, we've listed it — though keep in mind that access can be very, very spotty for now, and some cities don't see more than a few isolated blocks of 5G reception.

Where available, we've also listed those markets set to receive 5G "soon." Depending on the carrier, that might be in a few months, or maybe in a year or more, but all these cities are on the road maps. There also may be more markets in the works than just those displayed below, but these are the ones we've seen publicly disclosed.

AT&T

5G (sub-6):

5G+ (mmWave):

Soon:

T-Mobile

600MHz coverage available now:

T-Mobile has kicked off largely nationwide 5G over its 600MHz spectrum holdings. While the carrier is not doing market-by-market announcements, it has provided an interactive map that shows regions where 5G over 600MHz is available. T-Mobile reports this "covers 200 million people and more than 5,000 towns."

2.5 GHz mid-band 5G coverage:

mmWave 5G coverage available now:

5G coverage for all four carriers should be up to date as of the time of publication. We'll check back in with this list every couple weeks to update it with new entries as 5G sweeps across the nation.

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