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Verizon vs. AT&T vs. T-Mobile vs. Sprint compared: How to pick the best 5G carrier for you

por Glenna Forrest (2020-07-09)

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Crypto Platform Bakkt Raises $182.5 Million in Funding ...The OnePlus 8 can tap into 5G speeds on Verizon and T-Mobile.

Angela Lang/CNET

The coronavirus pandemic may be pumping the brakes on phone sales, but it isn't stopping 5G. Despite an onslaught of conspiracy theories that have resulted in physical damage to 5G towers, the major US carriers -- Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile -- continue to add new 5G phones and expand their networks.

For example, Verizon made it possible to upload content -- like photos and videos -- over its faster 5G network. That came to 35 cities in late May, including New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami. Meanwhile, Verizon also announced the sale date for the world's only standard Samsung Galaxy S20 to support the fastest type of 5G speeds. That happens June 4.

AT&T now says its 5G network covers 120 million people and is promising a path for cheaper 5G phones. While T-Mobile and Sprint have merged, the two sides are still in the process of consolidating into a single carrier ("the new T-Mobile"), which should make it a formidable competitor in the 5G space. For now, you can still sign up for a 5G plan from Sprint.

So what does this mean for you and your future 5G phone? Depending on where you live, you may not see a 5G network for a while, especially if you live somewhere more rural than urban. And if 5G is already in your area, coverage zones may be small and the reception may be iffy -- the carriers say they're constantly improving their network capacity. When the time comes, you'll need to know which carrier gives you the most for your money.

We're going to talk about:

What kind of 5G you can expect on your phone.

How much the carriers could charge for 5G access.

What kind of coverage you might get.

How 5G affects 4G data networks.

If you should buy a 5G phone now or wait.

Remember, 5G is an inevitability, the same way that 4G replaced 3G before it. Eventually, it will come to us all. Whether you decide to pick a 5G network now or wait to see how 5G rolls out in your area, here's what to consider when you look at a 5G mobile carrier.