Do you really need a 5G phone right now?
- No, median 5G network speeds are comparable to 4G speeds right now, and coverage is worse; you can postpone the ‘5G phone’ upgrade to 2022.
With under $ 300 phones like the new ones Galaxy A32, which we have just reviewed, the question for new buyers whether they need a 5G phone or not, given the state of the Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T 5G network so far is becoming increasingly violent.
For those who feel left out and wonder if they need to upgrade their good ol ‘4G LTE phone to something more modern, the answer is quite simple: not really. Why? Let’s look at some numbers.
5G vs 4G phone prices
T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T 5G network coverage
Is this a trick question? T-Mobile has reportedly best 5G network among the three major US carriers, but that does not say much, as its range is predominantly dependent on the slow low-band “Extended Range 5G” spectrum, whose end-user benefits over 4G LTE are questionable at best. The much faster “Ultra Capacity 5G” middle and high band will be fully implemented to 200 million people by 2022, so there is no need to worry about a 5G phone upgrade on T-Mobile before then.
AT&T also shares its 5G coverage to “Nationwide 5G” for the low bands and “5G +” for the faster mid and highs. It wants to reach a C-band 5G coverage target of 100+ million Americans at some point in “early 2023”. Until then … you guessed it … the low and slow “nationwide” dominates its current 5G coverage, which reportedly blankets over 230 million people.