AT&T 5G Network Availability and Network Coverage

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AT&T provides 5G service in 14,000 American cities and towns, and its network is capable of reaching 179 million people.1 However, AT&T’s 5G network is in the early stages of development, so even customers who can get 5G won’t get it everywhere they go. We at HighSpeedInternet.com have spent months researching the tech behind 5G and following developments around it closely. So we put together a guide to help you figure out where you can get AT&T’s 5G service and what kind of speeds and devices come with it.

Pro tip:

Still not clear on what 5G is exactly? Take a look at our 5G wireless guide for more details on how 5G works, what speeds you can get, and where you can get it.

AT&T 5G rollout—how does it compare to competitors?

Provider5G availability (% of time cellular customers connect to 5G during phone use)5G average speedsView plans
AT&T18.8%53.8 MbpsView Plans
Verizon9.5%47.4 MbpsView Plans
T-Mobile30.1%58.1 MbpsView Plans

AT&T, one of the major 5G carriers nationwide, has the widest 5G availability and second-fastest 5G speeds compared to its two major competitors, T-Mobile and Verizon. That’s according to a January 2021 report from the mobile analytics company Opensignal.2

The cellular and internet company has been rapidly building up its budding 5G network. It’s also put in extra effort since 2020 to get 5G phones into the hands of wireless customers, offering regular deals and discounts to AT&T customers.

You can get 5G from AT&T by signing up for one of a handful of unlimited-data cellular plans. Naturally you’ll also need a 5G phone, and you’ll need to be in AT&T’s 5G coverage area. Availability is limited since 5G is so new, but it could be coming to your area soon.

Pro tip:

Find out if AT&T has 5G coverage in your area by searching your address on AT&T’s 5G availability map.

How is AT&T’s 5G availability progressing?

ProviderAvailability—June 2020Availability—February 2021View plans
AT&T10.3%18.8%View Plans
Verizon0.4%9.5%View Plans
T-Mobile22.5%30.1%View Plans

Opensignal found in January 2021 that AT&T 5G users could get 5G service just under 19% of the time that they spent on their phones. When the 5G network fell off, the customers’ phones reverted to 4G LTE service.2

But while customers only connect to 5G 19% of the time, availability still seems to be rapidly improving. Opensignal’s previous report from June 2020 found that AT&T’s 5G customers could get 5G for just 10.3% of their phone time. So in six months, AT&T’s 5G availability seems to have gone up by more than 80%.3

Where can you get AT&T’s millimeter-wave 5G?

AT&T seems to be putting in a special effort to bulk up and promote what it calls 5G+, a hyperfast version of 5G.

5G+ operates over millimeter waves, which have extremely short range, so coverage is limited to densely populated parts of 38 major cities. AT&T has also set up 5G+ in a total of 17 concert venues, sports stadiums, and airports across the country.4

Here’s a full list of where you can access the absolute fastest speeds of AT&T 5G:

  • AZ: Phoenix
  • CA: Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Oakland, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, West Hollywood
  • FL: Jacksonville, Miami, Miami Gardens, Orlando, Tampa
  • GA: Atlanta
  • IN: Indianapolis
  • IL: Chicago
  • KY: Louisville
  • LA: New Orleans
  • MD: Baltimore, Ocean City
  • MI: Detroit
  • NC: Charlotte, Raleigh
  • NV: Las Vegas
  • NY: New York City
  • OH: Cleveland
  • OK: Oklahoma City
  • PA: King of Prussia, Philadelphia
  • TN: Nashville
  • TX: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Waco
  • WI: Milwaukee

You can also get 5G+ in any of these venues:

  • CA: Dodger Stadium, Oracle Park
  • CO: Ball Arena (Pepsi Center)
  • FL: Hard Rock Stadium, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa International Airport
  • GA: Mercedes Benz Stadium
  • IL: United Center Chicago
  • MN: U.S. Bank Stadium
  • NC: Bank of America Stadium, Spectrum Center
  • NV: Las Vegas Convention Center
  • TX: AT&T Dallas Stadium, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, AT&T Center
  • WI: Fiserv Forum, Miller Park

AT&T 5G speeds

Cellular providerAvg. 4G speed*Avg. 5G speed†View plans
AT&T33.2 Mbps53.8 MbpsView Plans
Verizon28.9 Mbps47.4 MbpsView Plans
T-Mobile28.8 Mbps58.1 MbpsView Plans

AT&T’s 5G offerings are over 60% faster than what it delivers over 4G. While you can get an average of 33.2 Mbps download speeds on the company’s 4G network, you can tap into average speeds of 53.8 Mbps if you’re connected to 5G. Meanwhile, AT&T’s millimeter-wave version of 5G can hit speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps in areas where it’s available.5

Granted, those aren’t exactly the mind-boggling speeds that customers were promised as 5G was being hyped up by tech experts and cellular companies over the past two years. Theoretically, experts claim that 5G will one day top 10 Gbps.6 That’s 10,000 Mbps—clearly we are a long way from hitting that target.

How fast will AT&T 5G be in the future?

AT&T 5G will be much faster in the future as 5G networks build up across the country and infrastructure improves. AT&T’s 5G+ connection could easily top 1,000 Mbps while slower versions could hit the range of 300–500 Mbps.

AT&T and other providers are in the process of establishing “standalone” networks that feature all-new technology and more efficient network processing. These networks will give 5G a big speed boost and also make them capable of managing high-tech use cases like self-driving cars, factory robots, and, um, even automated tattoo machines.

What types of 5G can you get from AT&T?

5G spectrum typeSpeedAvailabilityView plans
Sub-6 GHz53.8 Mbps (on average)*14,000 towns and citiesView Plans
5G+ (millimeter wave)Up to 1,000 MbpsParts of 38 cities and 17 concert venues/airportsView Plans

The bulk of AT&T’s 5G frequency spectrum consists of low- and mid-band, sub-6 GHz radio bands, giving you average speeds of 53.8 Mbps. It’s not the fastest 5G around, but it’s noticeably faster than the 30 Mbps you’ll get on 4G networks.

You also might be able to tap into 5G+, the name of AT&T’s ultrafast, millimeter-wave spectrum version of 5G. Available in parts of 38 American cities, 5G+ has a much shorter range compared to the other 5G flavors. You likely won’t find it except for in sports stadiums and densely packed downtown areas, but what it lacks in availability it makes up for in outstanding speeds of up to 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps).

Will AT&T have 5G home internet?

AT&T hasn’t announced any plans to launch a 5G home internet service, like those available from Verizon and T-Mobile. Instead the company is focusing on building up its 5G networks for cellular customers.

Pro tip:

Instead of building up a 5G internet service, AT&T is expanding its fiber internet footprint to more customers across the country. Read our AT&T fiber availability guide to get info on pricing and speeds and see if fiber is available in your area.

AT&T does offer a 5G hotspot that you can use to get Wi-Fi on devices like laptops and gaming systems. The NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro costs $509.99 and gives you internet over all 5G bands. That’s pretty expensive for internet use, and AT&T’s hotspot data plans give you a limited amount of data to work with, so it’s probably best for limited use.

What other options are there for 5G home internet?

PlanPriceAverage speedView plans
Verizon 5G Home Internet$50/mo. (for Verizon phone subscribers) or $70/mo. (for nonsubscribers)300 MbpsView Plans
T-Mobile Home Internet$50/mo.25 MbpsView Plans
Starry Internet$50/mo.Up to 200 MbpsView Plans

5G internet is a pretty new thing at this point, but there’s a few providers that offer 5G home internet options in limited areas. T-Mobile’s Home Internet service primarily operates over 4G LTE, but, according to some reports, your T-Mobile router can tap into 5G if it’s available in your service area.7

Pro tip:

The only major cellular company with full-on 5G internet right now is Verizon. Availability is limited, but it’s really affordable and delivers solid speeds. Take a gander at the details in our Verizon 5G Home Internet review.

We think services like these could eventually grow into solid alternatives to connections like cable and fiber internet.

How to get AT&T 5G: Phone plans and prices

PlanPriceData capHotspot dataVideo resolutionView plans
AT&T Unlimited Elite$85/mo. (1 line)100 GB (afterwards speed slowed during network congestion)30 GB/mo.HD streamingView Plans
AT&T Unlimited Extra$75/mo. (1 line)50 GB (afterwards speed slowed during network congestion)15 GB/mo.SD streamingView Plans
AT&T Unlimited Starter$65/mo. (1 line)Speeds slowed during network congestionNoneSD streamingView Plans

AT&T has three plans that will give you access to its 5G network—Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra, and Unlimited Elite. They range in price from $65–$85 a month for one line, with the main difference being how much uninterrupted high-speed data you get.

Technically, all of these plans give you unlimited data. In reality, when you surpass a given data cap for each plan, your speeds will be slowed down during moments of area-wide network congestion. That can happen any time on the Unlimited Starter plan. But the Unlimited Extra plan gives you 50 GB of high-speed data with no slowdowns at all, while Unlimited Elite hooks you up with 100 GB of such data.

5G is still fairly new and not widely available, so these Unlimited plans are basically 4G LTE plans with 5G included at no extra cost. Your phone service will connect to 5G when it’s available, but for the most part you’ll connect to AT&T’s 4G LTE network.

As 5G grows in availability over the next year or two, you can expect to see more 5G–oriented plans and 5G options coming from AT&T and other cellular carriers.

Pro tip:

Not sure how 4G and 5G differ? Read our 4G vs. 5G page to get all the details about speed, performance, devices, and availability.

AT&T 5G phones and devices

AT&T has been promoting 5G phones heavily in recent months, giving new customers discounts and rebates on the hottest 5G models. It offers several 5G phones on its website, which range in price from affordable to megadeluxe.

Here’s a list of the best-known 5G phones available from AT&T:

  • iPhone 12—The newest iPhone model and first of its kind with 5G capability
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max—A powerful device with professional-grade camera features
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G—The fastest, buttery-smoothest 5G option for Android users
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G—A slightly more affordable version of the popular S20 phone
  • Motorola one 5G—The best 5G budget option with a big display and long battery life
  • Google Pixel 5—A midrange offering replete with bulked-up security and water-resistant body

You can also get a 5G hotspot, the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro, to give your mobile devices Wi-Fi over 5G wireless networks.

Pro tip:

Peruse through our guide to the best 5G phones for all the details on design, specs, and cameras. We personally love the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, but you can’t go wrong with the iPhone 12 either.

Sources

  1. AT&T, “AT&T Continues to Build 5G on the Nation’s Best Wireless Network,” July 23, 2020. Accessed March 9, 2021.
  2. Ian Fogg, Opensignal, “5G User Experience Report,” January 2021. Accessed March 9, 2021.
  3. Ian Fogg, Opensignal, “5G User Experience Report,” June 2020. Accessed March 9, 2021.
  4. AT&T, “AT&T Rolls Out Super-Fast 5G+ across the US,” February 1, 2021. Accessed March 9, 2021.
  5. AT&T, “AT&T 5G+ Tampa,” December 22, 2020. Accessed March 10, 2021.
  6. Chris Hoffman, How-To Geek, “What Is 5G, and How Fast Will It Be?,” January 3, 2020. Accessed March 10, 2021.
  7. Rick Broida, CNET, “I Signed Up for T-Mobile’s $60 Unlimited Home Internet Service. Here’s What Happened,” February 24, 2021. Accessed March 10, 2021.