Verizon or T-Mobile might be best option for your 5G iPhone

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T-Mobile 5G service
T-Mobile offers 5G in more areas than any of its rivals. But Verizon is faster.
Photo: T-Mobile

It’s not too soon to pick out the best 5G network for your 5G iPhone. And right now, there are two top contenders, according to testing dozen by an analytics firm. Verizon offers the fastest download speeds by a wide margin. And T-Mobile offers 5G in a much broader area.

But AT&T is in there swinging too.

Who has the best 5G network?

Verizon offers 5G download speeds almost 10 times faster than its national rivals, according to the Opensignal 5G User Experience Report June 2020.

This telecom gets download speeds approaching 500 Mbps. The next closest is AT&T with download speeds at just over 60 Mbps.

Opensignal best 5G Download Speed chart
Verizon comes out way ahead in 5G download speed.
Chart: Opensignal

But T-Mobile has a big advantage in 5G availability. Opensignal’s data indicates users are connected, on average, to T-Mobile’s 5G service over 22% of the time.

In second place is Sprint, which will soon merge into T-Mobile. AT&T has about half as much availability as T-Mobile. But Verizon users can expect to be connected to 5G less than half of 1% of the time.

Opensignal best 5G Availability June 2020
T-Mobile leads in 5G availability
Chart: Opensignal

The difference between Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s performance is heavily influenced by what wireless frequencies they are using. Verizon and AT&T employ mmWave, which enables the quickest transfers but is also short range. T-Mobile offers 5G over 600MHz spectrum, which offers wider coverage but slower speeds.

Don’t count out AT&T

While it might seem either Verizon or T-Mobile offer the best 5G, Opensignal gave rival AT&T equal marks with Verizon in Download Speed Experience. This metric combines download speeds and availability. And AT&T’s balance of the two is reflected in this category.

Also, all these carriers are still building out their next-generation networks. Over time, each will offer 5G in more areas.

5G iPhone is coming

While it has yet to be announced, there’s near universal agreement that the iPhone 12 series coming this autumn will include Apple’s first 5G handsets.

There’ll supposedly be models in a range of screen sizes and prices. But all will have 5G.