Should you buy a 5G phone right now? The answer to that question is a complex one, with very few 5G-compatible phone options available right now and waiting periods for others. We’ll help you answer this question below.
When Will 5G Phones be Available?
Currently there are two 5G compatible phones available for use in the U.S., and they are temporarily exclusive to Verizon—the Moto z³ and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. The Galaxy S10 5G debuted with Verizon on May 16 and will soon follow on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The Moto z³’s 5G moto mod has been available since April.
Other upcoming 5G Phones include the LG V50 ThinQ 5G and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
5G Phones by Carrier
|Cell Phone Carrier||5G Service Name||5G Phones|
|Verizon||5G Ultra Wideband||Moto z³ and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (May 16, 2019)|
|AT&T||AT&T 5G+||Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (Spring 2019)|
|T-Mobile||T-Mobile 5G||Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (Later 2019)
One Plus 7 Pro 5G (Possibly 2019)
|Sprint||Sprint 5G||LG V50 ThinQ 5G (May 31)
Samsung Galaxy S10 (Summer 2019)
|U.S. Cellular||U.S. Cellular 5G||Unknown|
5G Network Rollout by Carrier
- AT&T: Installed in 12 cities last year. Expanding to 21 in 2019, including in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose.
- Sprint:Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Kansas City were the first 5G cities. Other cities will follow, including Chicago, Los Angeles, NYC, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. later this year.
- T-Mobile: 30 cities planned for 2019, beginning with New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas.
- U.S. Cellular: 5G coming in the latter half of 2019.
- Verizon: Verizon’s mobile 5G Ultra Wideband network has limited availability in Chicago and Minneapolis this spring. Verizon will bring 5G networks to 30 cities by the end of 2019.
What is the Best 5G Phone I can Buy?
What’s the best 5G phone you can buy? Best is difficult to define with so few options, but if you want the best budget 5G phone, the moto z³ with a 5G moto mod is your jam. However, if you’re talking about pure performance in a flagship package, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is your best option.
Which 5G Phone is the One for You?
- Moto z³ with 5G moto mod: For Verizon customers who want the 5G experience on a budget, or would rather add on the ability using a Moto mod in the few areas with 5G coverage.
- Price: The Moto z³ is $480 and the 5G moto mod is $199.99 at Verizon for a combined $679.99.
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G: For early adopters who need the latest tech and have plenty of cash burning a hole in their pocket.
- Price: $1,299.99 for 256GB model and $1,399.99 for 512GB model at Verizon. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and other carriers will follow.
Why You Should Buy a 5G Phone
You NEED Faster Speeds
If you’re interested in downloading large files, playing competitive online games, taking HD video calls, or streaming 4K videos on the go with no latency, 5G might just be worth it.
You Live Downtown
Right now you can only benefit from 5G in select cities in very small areas. Minneapolis and Chicago are the first areas with Verizon’s Ultra Wideband 5G network up and running with phones for sale that can utilize it. With dozens of cities coming online soon, urban dwellers can reap the rewards of 5G proximity first.
You Have Money to Burn
5G tech is brand new, and it’ll be more expensive in the short term. Verizon charges $10/month on top of existing Unlimited plans (starting at $75/month), and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G starts at $1,299. If you can afford to grab the best phone on the best network with the newest and fastest cellular technology, why not?
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 5G Phone
You Don’t Need One
The truth is, you don’t need 5G or a 5G phone. Standard 4G LTE speeds (5-12Mbps) are all people need to do HD video streaming, online gaming, and downloading apps from your app store fairly quickly.
You may be better off Spending extra cash on a 4G phone while 5G becomes more mainstream
5G is Expensive
As noted, this stuff is expensive. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G starts at $1,299 and upcoming options are likely to be similar in cost. Many people wouldn’t spend that much on a laptop let alone a smartphone, even with the monthly payment plan. You may be better off using your extra cash on a 4G phone for two years while 5G becomes more mainstream.
4G Networks are Already Fast
Recently installed technology like 4G LTE Advanced is capable of 50% faster speeds (Verizon has this in over 450 cities) than traditional 4G. Unlike 5G, 4G LTE Advanced is also widely available and supported by phones with every major carrier.
5G Networks and Phones are Still Rolling out
5G infrastructure barely exists. Like any new technology, cellular networks take time to develop and get the kinks worked out, and the same goes for 5G smartphones. As of this writing, there are only two 5G phones you can buy (Note: You can also pre-order the V50 ThinQ 5G on Sprint). Worse, it’s via a network with coverage in only two downtown areas. You can definitely wait.