PC Magazine
Published in

PC Magazine

In These 8 Cities, AT&T and Verizon Users Need New Phones ASAP

(Image: René Ramos; Molly Flores)

Do you live in one of these cities? If so, you should consider getting a new phone immediately.

By Sascha Segan

If your AT&T or Verizon phone is stalling out, it’s time to dive into the C. The two carriers are rolling out mid-band 5G (also known as C-band) in cities around the nation, and as we drove 10,000 miles looking for America’s best mobile network, we saw the difference starting to become clear.

T-Mobile users can likely sit pretty. As long as you have a 5G T-Mobile phone, it supports the carrier’s mid-band, which made T-Mobile the best and fastest mobile network in America in our tests this year.

But AT&T and Verizon users may need to step up. Not all AT&T and Verizon 5G phones support C-band, and C-band is much better and faster than their ordinary 5G. For a list of phones that support C-band, see our frequently updated list. (It’s for Verizon, but things are similar for AT&T.)

Both AT&T and Verizon call their slower, low-band 5G “5G”. They call C-band, as well as the even faster but hard-to-find mmWave, “5G+” on AT&T and “5G UW” on Verizon. The following cities are where we saw the biggest differences between regular “5G” and the “5G+” or “UW” varieties—as well as enough of the faster stuff to matter.

Note that this list isn’t inclusive of all 30 cities we tested. The network-detection software I wrote quit sometimes, and so we weren’t able to survey every single one of our test cities for 5G+ status. But we learned enough to give you some good leads.

In the images below, blue dots mark where we found “5G+” on AT&T and red dots mark where we saw “5G UW” on Verizon.

Austin: AT&T and Verizon

Verizon is really struggling in Austin, and T-Mobile was our winner in that city. But with both Verizon and AT&T, upgrading to C-band is going to reap you major benefits to the tune of at least tripling your speeds.

Boston: Verizon

T-Mobile was the fastest network in Boston, while AT&T was (barely) the best overall this year. But if you’re on Verizon, you’ll reap benefits by switching to a C-band phone. In Boston we saw speeds of 200–300Mbps when on C-band, as opposed to 85–150Mbps without.

Charlotte: Verizon

C-band makes a less massive but still meaningful upgrade in Charlotte, where switching to a Verizon C-band phone raised the averages from 170Mbps down to 250Mbps in testing.

Detroit: AT&T and Verizon

Detroit rocks with C-band on both AT&T and Verizon. We saw AT&T’s C-band results just about double speeds, while Verizon’s more like tripled them. Our AT&T phone reported “5G+” in Dearborn, Eastpointe, Farmington Hills, and Livonia, as well as Detroit proper. Both Verizon and T-Mobile showed their mid-band 5G all over the metro area.

Houston: AT&T and Verizon

Everybody’s building in Houston! AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all have mid-band (and in Verizon’s case, noticeable high-band) 5G speeding up mobile phones and home internet in Houston. Switching to the better form of 5G will at least double your AT&T speeds and probably triple your Verizon speeds here.

Miami: AT&T and Verizon

Southern Florida is now a hotbed of 5G. Not only do all of the carriers have mid-band 5G in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, they have it all the way down into the Keys—in the case of T-Mobile and Verizon, even down to Key West!

Trading up to C-band on AT&T in Miami raised average download speeds from 60Mbps to 110Mbps, and raised speeds on Verizon from 108Mbps to over 300Mbps. AT&T’s performance is sure to improve with further buildout, so this is only going to get better.

(In this AT&T test, C-band 5G+ locations we found are shown in orange.)

New York: AT&T and Verizon

All of the carriers saw significant bumps in performance in New York City with mid-band. Take a look at our previous story on Verizon C-band in New York for more details on the carrier’s step up.

New York didn’t have AT&T C-band when we did our testing, but we found the carrier flipped the switch by early June, with the network all over the east side of Manhattan. Check out our full testing report to see how getting on the C-band bandwagon can triple your performance in some of Manhattan’s slowest spots.

Portland, OR: Verizon

Without 5G UW, Portland is a congested city for Verizon. With C-band, you’re zooming along in the fast lane. Moving on up to Verizon 5G UW increased speeds in Portland from a mere 63Mbps down to at least 250Mbps down.

The Best Mobile Network in 2022

You already know the overall winner, but check out our testing process and results for all the other cities we hit in our quest to find the best mobile network in the US.

Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store