The Best and Worst Cities for Verizon 5G

Verizon’s 5G network is at a fork in the road. After two years of chugging along installing short-range millimeter-wave 5G, it hopes to turn on mid-band 5G for 100 million Americans next year. This “C-band” launch will help Verizon compete with T-Mobile, which dominated this year’s Fastest Mobile Networks tests.

We drove more than 10,000 miles across the United States, surveying both 4G and 5G networks, and discovered that 2021 will be a difficult year for Verizon. Its millimeter-wave 5G network simply does not have the range to compete with T- Mobile’s, and the performance of its “nationwide” 5G network does not differ significantly from that of its 4G network.

However, all is not lost for the country’s largest wireless carrier. From our research, we selected five cities where Verizon is doing particularly well, and five where you may want to switch carriers.

The Best and Worst Cities for Verizon 5G

The 5 Best Cities for Verizon 5G

The five cities listed below all had adequate millimeter-wave coverage and adequate Verizon 4G coverage to fill in the gaps, and they are on Verizon’s list for potential C-band rollouts next year. That means the Verizon experience is excellent right now and will only improve in the future.

Salt Lake City

In our tests, Verizon achieved peak speeds of 1.9Gbps and average 5G download speeds of 230Mbps thanks to millimeter-wave 5G coverage throughout the city center—a significant improvement over the carrier’s 4G average of 149Mbps. Verizon has partnered with T-Mobile to provide the city’s Fastest Mobile Network.


Verizon’s millimeter-wave 5G was visible in Deep Ellum, University Park, and along the highways. It achieved some of the highest average 5G Verizon speeds in Dallas—355Mbps down and 40Mbps up, which is more than four times the download speed and three times the upload speed of 4G. If you spend a lot of time in and around Dallas, it’s worth upgrading to 5G.


Verizon millimeter-wave 5G was visible throughout Center City, University City, near the stadium, and near the art museum, earning Verizon the title of Philadelphia’s Fastest Mobile Network. Peak download speeds reached 1.73Gbps, with average download speeds of 265Mbps—roughly triple Verizon’s 4G speeds. It’s time to upgrade to Verizon 5G in Philadelphia if you haven’t already.


In Houston, a line of Verizon millimeter-wave 5G results stretching from downtown to Uptown showed peak speeds of 1.39Gbps. Verizon had the fastest overall 5G download speeds in the city, with average download speeds of 180Mbps. It didn’t win the city because we saw T-5G Mobile’s here more frequently than Verizon’s.


With peak speeds of 1.94Gbps, Verizon’s millimeter-wave 5G blazed its way from Five Points to Buckhead.
Verizon customers in Atlanta who upgrade from 4G to 5G will see significant speed increases in the city’s core, with average download speeds increasing from 89Mbps to 146Mbps.

The 5 Worst Cities for Verizon 5G

To improve its performance in these cities, Verizon will need to rapidly expand its C-band network. While they’re all on Verizon’s upcoming C-band list, we saw little or no millimeter-wave action and generally poor performance on Verizon’s nationwide 5G network in these five cities.

Oklahoma City

In Oklahoma City, Verizon’s 4G and 5G networks both underperformed. While we saw flashes of millimeter-wave 5G near the Belle Isle Station mall, they weren’t enough to compensate for the sluggish overall performance.


Millimeter-wave 5G in Wynwood and south of Downtown Miami couldn’t save Verizon’s overall poor 5G performance in Miami. Looking deeper into the results, we discovered that we were still getting sub-4G speeds despite the presence of a 5G icon, indicating that there was probably a network configuration issue. Miami residents should probably turn off 5G until C-band is available.

Kansas City

In Kansas City, we saw no fast millimeter-wave 5G and poor “nationwide” 5G speeds. Verizon’s 4G performance was even worse, with what appeared to be severe network congestion causing issues. Change to T-Mobile.

San Diego

Verizon’s fast millimeter-wave 5G service is so spotty in San Diego that we couldn’t locate it this time. Its 5G performance was nearly identical to its 4G performance. Both networks are dependable, but they lack in terms of speed and capacity.


In Austin, 5G performance was worse than 4G. Given the reliability of Verizon’s 4G network in Austin, you might as well turn off 5G until C-band arrives and save some battery.

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