What is 5G?

What is 5G technology?

5G stands for “fifth generation” of wireless network technology. It works at higher frequencies than its predecessors, resulting in greater bandwidth and faster data transfer. This creates opportunity for quicker downloads, smoother streaming, and more responsive and reliable online experiences, even in spots with high network traffic.

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How fast is 5G?

5G can deliver speeds up to 20 Gbps in ideal conditions. That’s nearly 200 times faster than the 4G network. Your location, network provider, and device capabilities all influence that rate, but significant improvements in speed and performance can be expected from 5G in everyday scenarios.

With superior speeds of up to 20 Gbps, you can download a full 8k movie in six seconds, experience tech such as VR, AR, and automated driving, and connect even more devices than ever before.

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4G LTE speeds were far faster than 3G—up to 100,000 Kbps. That means you could download a movie in seven minutes, video chat, stream content, and use cloud services.

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3G brought the internet to our mobile phones. But with only 2,000 Kbps speeds, a low‑res movie took over an hour to download, and video and audio streaming were slowed.

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How does 5G work?

5G networks can be built in different ways from multiple bands of wavelength spectrum (also known as radio frequencies) to carry information through the air: low-band, mid-band, and high-band.

High-band frequencies, such as millimeter wave (mmWave), have greater bandwidth to carry more data in dense urban areas, but have limited penetration in buildings and require cell sites to be close by.

Mid-band balances speed and range, providing broader coverage than high-band. And it's less impacted by buildings.

Low-band, like the powerful 600MHz spectrum, travels farther—over hundreds of square miles—and can pass through more obstacles, providing better coverage and a stronger signal both indoors and out.

Have more questions about 5G?

What makes T-Mobile 5G different?

We built our 5G network for coverage and speed. T-Mobile is America’s largest and fastest 5G network, with more 5G network awards than any other carrier.

Independent experts agree: we’re the leader in 5G coverage and speed. We built a 5G network using dedicated 5G frequencies, and other carriers can’t match our nationwide coverage. Plus, with our Ultra Capacity 5G, we’re amping up performance—bringing faster 5G speeds to more places across the country.

How is 5G impacting people’s lives?

Learn how 5G technology and expanded coverage is benefitting and changing our lives for good.

Fighting fire with 5G.

Our 5G network is enabling AI-powered active wildfire detection to spot the first signs of wildfires to help stop them before they spread.

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The first 5G-enabled drone on our 5G network.

Together with the Drone Racing League, we launched a drone that live streams in high definition—bringing sports fans closer to the action than ever before.

Unmatched access to our network for first responders.

With Connecting Heroes, we give first responders free service and 5G access, plus preemption and priority access—so critical communications go through first.

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Discover more about 5G.

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Is 5G available in my area?

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Now’s the time to upgrade to a 5G phone.

Got questions?

  • 5G is the next generation of wireless network technology, designed to expand the scope of mobile technology beyond the capabilities of LTE. It will fuel innovation across every industry and transform every aspect of our lives. Over time, 5G technology will change the way we live, work, and play—for the better.

  • 5G isn't replacing 4G any time soon. In fact, they will coexist and work together. 5G-capable phones can actually use both 4G and 5G technology.

  • You must have a 5G-capable phone to access a 5G network. Older 4G devices without 5G radios will not connect to 5G networks.

    • See coverage map
    • When you’re in an area with T-Mobile 5G coverage, your phone will show a simple 5G or 5G UC icon in the upper right corner. You can also check our 5G coverage map to see anticipated coverage by location or at a specific address.
  • 4G and 5G Networks have separate coverage footprints. In many places you will have both 4G and 5G coverage with a 5G device. You can check our 5G coverage map.

  • Yes! 5G-capable phones can use both 4G and 5G technology.

    • T-Mobile 5G Home Internet customers see typical download speeds between 33-182 Mbps, which is great speed for streaming video, surfing the web, working from home and most types of online gaming. Speeds can vary depending on location, signal strength, time of day, and other factors. Our speed projections are based on our analysis of internal and third-party data. See T-Mobile.com/OpenInternet for more information.
    • Get more information about our high-speed home internet service and check availability at your address by visiting the T-Mobile Home Internet page.
  • Extended Range 5G is our low-band 5G network. It makes up the foundation of our nationwide 5G and brings 5G service to big cities, rural towns, and unexpected places in between, giving T-Mobile customers more 5G bars in more places on America’s largest 5G network.

  • Ultra Capacity 5G includes our mid-band and/or mmWave 5G. It can give you a perfect balance of far-reaching coverage and super-fast speeds, and we have this available in more places than anyone else! Ultra Capacity 5G can deliver speeds as fast as wi-fi right to your phone.

  • Customers will see the 5G UC (Ultra Capacity) icon when your device is in an area with T-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G. Currently, most 5G phones can access both Extended Range 5G and Ultra Capacity 5G.