With 5G coverage now stretching across the entire United States, now may be a better time than ever to get yourself a 5G cell phone plan and phone. Before you do so, it’s important to know which plans come with 5G access and how much they cost. In this article we will cover:

AT&T 5G plans

Although AT&T’s 5G coverage leaves much to be desired, if you do happen to live in a city where the carrier’s 5G network is available, you’ll need one of the following cell phone plans to get access:

  • Unlimited Starter (5G available with this plan from August 7, 2020)
  • Unlimited Extra
  • Unlimited Elite
  • Prepaid Unlimited Plus

AT&T isn’t currently charging any extra for 5G access through any of these plans—you’ll pay the regular monthly price of the plan but have access to the lightning-fast network.

Sprint 5G plans

There’s great news for Sprint customers—with the merger with T-Mobile finally getting approved Sprint’s 5G network is now combined with T-Mobile’s, giving it the largest 5G coverage in the U.S. With T-Mobile’s 5G network covering all 50 states, getting access to 5G via a Sprint plan is easy! Any of Sprint’s plans can be activated on 5G, as long as you have a compatible 5G phone. You will pay the same monthly price for the plan—Sprint is not charging any extra for 5G coverage.

T-Mobile 5G plans

With the biggest 5G network in the country, it’s easy to get 5G coverage with T-Mobile. All of T-Mobile’s plans can access the carrier’s 5G network as long as you have a compatible 5G phone. These 5G plans will not cost any extra, at least for now.

Verizon 5G plans

While Verizon's 5G coverage isn't quite as wide-stretched as T-Mobile and Sprint's, its speeds are the fastest of the four 5G networks. If you're lucky enough to live in one of these select areas, you'll need one of the following Verizon 5G plans to get access:
  • Play More Unlimited
  • Do More Unlimited
  • Get More Unlimited
While Verizon does plan to eventually charge $10/month extra for 5G access, the carrier is currently waiving this fee for a limited time.

Prepaid/MVNO 5G plans

Although the rollout of 5G to smaller prepaid carriers is going a bit slower than we’d hoped, there are some MVNOs that offer access to 5G via the major networks.

Metro by T-Mobile 5G plans

Metro was the first prepaid carrier in the U.S. to offer 5G, thanks to its parent company, T-Mobile. You can access T-Mobile’s 5G network from any of Metro’s plans (for no extra cost) as long as you have a 5G-compatible phone. The only caveat to Metro’s 5G plans is that your speeds may be deprioritized (in favor of T-Mobile customers) if you use more than 35GB of data in a month.

Google Fi 5G plans

Google Fi also offers 5G speeds via T-Mobile’s 5G network if you have a compatible phone. You’ll pay the same price you would pay for a regular Google Fi plan, but have access to faster speeds.

5G coverage

5G coverage in the U.S. differs greatly from carrier to carrier. This is one of the first things you need to check before you go out and buy a 5G phone and plan. Currently, T-Mobile and Sprint have the most 5G coverage in the country, followed by Verizon, then AT&T.

However, it’s important to note that 5G speed also differs from carrier to carrier, with Verizon taking the prize in this category. In a nutshell:

  • Most coverage = T-Mobile/Sprint
  • Fastest speeds = Verizon

Frequently asked questions

Will 5G cost more?

Currently all carriers are offering access to their 5G networks for free via eligible plans. Verizon will eventually charge $10/month on top of the regular plan price, but for now, the carrier is waiving this 5G fee.

What else do I need to get 5G coverage?

The only thing you'll need other than a 5G cell phone plan and decent 5G coverage is a compatible 5G phone. There are a number of options available from both Samsung and LG, however we are yet to get a 5G phone from Apple.

Will 5G use more data?

Using a 5G network won't require more mobile data for the same amount of use. Getting 5G coverage simply means access to faster speeds. Once you switch to a 5G plan, however, you may notice your data use increases as you'll be able to browse, search, post, and stream faster than you could before, which means you may be downloading/uploading more content.

Is 5G available in my area?

It's very likely that T-Mobile and Sprint offer 5G coverage in your area, however Verizon and AT&T currently only have limited 5G coverage in the U.S. Check out each carrier's 5G coverage map before you switch to a 5G plan.

Do prepaid carriers offer 5G?

Yes! There is a handful of smaller carriers that offer 5G access through one of the major networks. For example, Metro by T-Mobile and Google Fi both offer 5G via T-Mobile's 5G network with a compatible phone and plan.