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Research: Less than half of Americans with 5G phones actually use a 5G connection

By Roland Udvarlaki March 14, 2022, 2:00 pm
USA 5G Source: Pocketnow

A new report was recently posted that claims that the median 5G download speed in the US is 93.73 Mbps. The report compares the 5G networks from each carrier and talks about the different types of 5G technologies and the overall coverage across the nation.

Whistle Out carried out a research to find out how 5G is used in the United States and what carrier provides the best and fastest service. The report also details important information about the coverage and the number of 5G smartphones currently on the market.

Speed of 5G

The research claims that the median 5G download speed in the US is 93.73 Mbps. The report states that the download speeds on a 5G network are nearly double the national medium for download speeds of 54.4 Mbps. The report also mentions that Verizon’s millimeter-wave 5G is one of the fastest recorded in the country, and its download speeds can exceed up to 2 Gbps.


On average, T-Mobile provides the fastest 5G speeds across the nation, but the speed largely depends on the location of the tower and the person with a 5G capable device. Some areas may be better covered by carriers such as Verizon, while other cities and areas may be better for T-Mobile users.

  • T-Mobile has the fastest 5G speed averages, with an average 5G download speed of 150Mbps.

  • Verizon comes in second, trailing way behind with an average 5G download speed of 56.2Mbps.

  • AT&T comes in last of the three carriers, with an average 5G download speed of 49.1Mbps.

Types of 5G technologies

The report also provides a closer look at the 5G technologies that currently exist in the US, and provides some detailed information about them.

5G TypeFrequency RangeSignal DistanceCurrent Download SpeedsObstacle Penetration
High-band (mmWave)20-100 Ghz<1,500 ft.Up to 2.5 GbpsLow
Mid-band2-10 GhzSeveral milesUp to 1 GbpsMedium
Low-bandUnder 5 Ghz100+ milesUp to 250 MbpsHigh

5G varies by the different type and technology that is used, and its results can vary a lot. Stadiums and large cities often use high-band technologies to provide fast speeds to very busy places, such as squares, stadiums, and so on..., while Low and Mid-band are often used in less dense areas to cover larger areas. There are more than 417,000 5G towers throughout the USA as of 2021, and that number will continue to grow as 5G becomes a more established standard across the nation.

When it comes to coverage and 5G availability, the report claims that the US ranks at the sixth position, and the country is the likes of South Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and Qatar. Reportedly, at least 230 million Americans are covered by 5G in the US, while T-Mobile’s Extended Range 5G covers around 305 million people. Verizon’s 5G covers 230 million people across 2,700 cities, while AT&T reaches more than 250 million people.

5G Adoption and Usage rates

What percentage of people have 5G included in their phone plan Source: Whistle Out

There are more than 660 million people in the world who use 5G data plans, but this changes quite a bit when we look at the US 5G phone plans. WhistleOut surveyed 1,000 Americans, and the percentage can be broken down into three segments:

  • 58% of Americans say their phone plan includes 5G.
  • 31% of Americans say they don’t have a cell phone plan that includes 5G.
    • 40% of Americans over the age of 54 don’t have a 5G phone plan.
  • 12% of Americans don’t know if their plan includes 5G coverage.

The report also claims that nearly half, 49.2%, of the people with 5G devices use 5G connections regularly. A different report says that by the end of 2022, 5G will be used by more than 1.08 billion people worldwide, and that number is also expected to continue growing inside the US. The 5G smartphone market share will also continue to grow as the technology will become more affordable, and there are already a lot of devices out there that cost less than $400 that come with 5G support.

What percent of Americans have 5G phones Source: Whistle Out

With the release of more 5G phone models (including the iPhone 12 in 2020 and iPhone 13 in 2021), WhistleOut found that a majority of the population owns one in its new survey of 1,000 Americans.

  • 62% of people own a 5G-compatible phone.
  • 29% of people don’t own a 5G-compatible phone.
  • 9% of people aren’t sure

We’ve only included some of the most interesting bits and pieces, and the full report goes more into detail about the technologies and coverage. If you want to read the full report, you can find it here.


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