Does 5G Have Better Coverage? Unveiling the Truth Behind the Hype

Dan Omalley

Dan Omalley

Expert in 5G

You’re familiar with how crucial it is to have solid coverage for your internet and online services, right? The strength of your wireless connection hinges on the quality of coverage it gets. Now, you may have already switched to 5G or be thinking about making the leap from 4G. However, the question is: Does 5G have better coverage than 4G? And why is that important for your business and your user experience? Well, you’re in luck, because I’m here to explain everything you need to know about 5G coverage.

I’ll explain what 5G coverage is, how it’s different from older wireless technology (i.e., is 5G coverage better than 4G?), the pros and cons of having widespread 5G coverage, and what it means for both users and providers in the future. By the end of this article, you’ll understand if 5G has better coverage than 4G or other networks and how 5G coverage can improve your user experience. Alright, let’s get this show on the road!

5G coverage is the places where you can access the 5G network on your phone or other devices. But, you know, not all areas in the US have 5G coverage yet, and there are a bunch of factors that can impact how good the coverage is, you know what I mean? Let me break it down for you. One thing to consider is the frequency range of the 5G signal. Different frequencies have their own advantages and disadvantages. Well, it really depends on where you’re at and what you’re looking to do online. You might need a specific frequency band to get the best 5G coverage.

Another thing to consider is the amount and placement of the cell towers that provide the 5G signal. Base stations are kind of like antennas that send and receive signals from the main network to your device. The more cell towers there are in an area, the better the coverage and capacity of the 5G network. But, you know, building more base stations also means spending more money, taking more time, and putting in more effort. That’s why some places have more cell towers than others.

Another thing to consider is the potential advantages for various applications of the 5G network. Does 5G give you better phone reception? Well, it depends. For instance, if you wanna watch a video or play a game on your phone, you gotta have a fast and seamless network that can handle a tonne of data and has minimal lag. On the flip side, if you have a smart device like a sensor or a controller that keeps an eye on or manages something in your house or surroundings, you need a network that uses less power and lasts a long time, allowing multiple devices to connect simultaneously.

Comparing 5G to Previous Generations: 4G vs 5G Coverage

Most of us use 4G (the predecessor of 5G) on our smartphones and tablets these days. It allows us to surf the internet, watch videos, play games, and do other online activities at super-fast speeds (up to 1,000 megabits per second) and with minimal delays (around 50 milliseconds). 4G works by using these special antennas, signals, and techniques that can send and receive a tonne of data over low and medium frequencies.

Is 5G really better? Well, 5G is way faster, way more reliable, and way more versatile than 4G. It uses a broader range of frequencies compared to 4G, including really high ones that can carry a tonne more data but have a shorter range and can be blocked by walls and trees. It also uses smarter antennas that can steer signals to where they’re needed and avoid interference from other sources.

4G vs. 5G

Yes, 5G makes a vast difference from its predecessors, whether you are a user or a provider. Here are some examples you can check to get an answer to the question-  “will I get better service with 5G?”

    • Nybsys’s plug-and-play devices can give you speeds of around 1,000 megabits per second and delays of under 10 milliseconds. This means you can download a movie in just a few seconds or play online games without any lag.
    • AT&T’s 5G+ network can give you speeds of up to 2,000 megabits per second in certain areas where they’ve set up special equipment that operates on really high frequencies.
    • T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G network can cover a whopping 200 million people across 6 million square miles. It offers speeds of up to 300 megabits per second using medium frequencies that strike a good balance between speed and coverage.
    • China Mobile’s 5G network can reach over 90% of the people in 47 cities with lightning-fast speeds of up to 1,200 megabits per second. They use different frequencies like low, medium, and high to make sure it works well in all kinds of places.

Challenges in Achieving Comprehensive 5G Coverage in 2023

Does 5G have better coverage than 4G? To answer that, let’s look at the challenges 5G coverage may face. Even though 5G has its advantages, there are some downsides that make it challenging to provide coverage for everyone and everywhere in the US. There are a few downsides to consider:

Higher Frequencies and Their Problems

High frequencies can transmit a ton of data really quickly, but they only travel a little and can be obstructed by stuff like walls and trees. This means that high-band 5G can only work well in small areas (such as stadiums, airports, or downtown areas) where there are a lot of base stations (the towers or poles that send and receive signals) and users. Also, not all countries or areas have these high frequencies available for 5G due to rules and regulations.

Line-Of-Sight Requirements and Obstacles

5G smarter antennas have the ability to direct signals to the places they're needed and avoid any interference from other sources. It helps improve signal quality and reduce interference, but it also needs a clear line of sight between the base stations and users. Anything obstructing the line of sight can weaken the signal or cause it to be lost. Well, you know, folks using 5G might notice some gaps or changes in their coverage depending on where they're at and how they're gettin' around.

Interference and Network Congestion

Mid-bands are great because they strike a good balance between coverage and performance. However, it's worth noting that other wireless networks and devices also utilize them. For instance, Wi-Fi networks and mid-band 5G networks in the USA use the same frequencies (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), so they can interfere with each other. Additionally, there might be a situation where the demand for data and resources exceeds the available supply.

The Impact of Weather Conditions

Wireless signals rely on weather conditions, like temperature, humidity, rain, snow, fog, or dust. These conditions can impact how the signals travel through the air, you know? For instance, rain can mess with the signal (especially for high frequencies), fog can mess up the signal (especially for low frequencies), and snow can weaken the signal (especially for medium frequencies).

The Role of Infrastructure in Expanding 5G Coverage

A big part of making 5G coverage better is having a lot of network infrastructure available and set up. Yeah, that’s true. Infrastructure is super important for ensuring that 5G coverage gets better and upgraded. Also, good infrastructure can solve the dilemma of “does 5G give you better phone reception?”

Investments and Collaborations by Telecommunication Companies

If you're a telecom company, you gotta invest big time. You have to get those spectrum licenses, upgrade the current base stations, set up new base stations, lay down fiber optic cables or microwave links for the backhaul connections, and make sure 5G works smoothly with the older networks. You would also have to work together with others to share infrastructure resources and costs, like through agreements for roaming or arrangements for network slicing.

The Use of Small Cells and Distributed Antenna Systems

The use of small cells and distributed antenna systems (DAS) is quite common in the United States. Small cells are like these little base stations with low power and can give coverage to a small area, like a building or a street. Distributed antenna systems (DAS) are like networks of antennas that can help expand coverage over a more extensive area, like a college campus or a sports stadium. Both small cells and DAS can help you improve 5G coverage by increasing the number of cells, reducing interference, improving the signal, and taking some of the traffic off the big cells.

The Use of Repeaters and Relays

You can use repeaters to boost and resend wireless signals to expand coverage for a specific area. Also, there are relay devices that can pick up and pass on wireless signals to another base station or user device. Both repeaters and relays can help you improve 5G coverage by getting past obstacles, filling in areas with no coverage, or extending the range.

Geographic Disparities in 5G Coverage: Does 5G Have Better Coverage Than 4G?

One challenge you might encounter with deploying 5G is making sure it reaches all areas and people, not just big cities and developed nations. You’ll see significant differences in 5G coverage between cities and the rural regions and between different parts of the world. These gaps can really impact the quality and availability of 5G services, as well as the opportunities and benefits that 5G can bring to different sectors and communities.

Urban vs. Rural Coverage Discrepancies

5G networks use higher frequency bands compared to 4G networks. This means they can provide faster speeds and more bandwidth. However, they have a shorter range and may not penetrate obstacles as well. This means that 5G networks need more base stations and antennas to cover the same area as 4G networks, especially in rural areas where there are fewer people and the terrain is tougher. According to a report from Opensignal, the average availability of 5G in cities was 22.6% in the second quarter of 2023, while it was 16.4% in rural areas. The report also found that the difference in 5G availability between cities and rural areas varied across countries. Some countries like South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan had a more negligible difference, while others like Germany, France, and Italy had a more considerable difference.

Global Variations in 5G Deployment and Coverage

The speed and extent of 5G rollout vary across different parts of the world and individual countries. As of August 2023, there were 265 commercial 5G networks in 88 countries. It’s expected that there will be over 1.5 billion 5G connections worldwide by the end of the year. But, not all 5G networks are the same. South Korea, China, and the US are some of the countries that are leading the way in 5G deployment. In the second quarter of 2023, a recent study found South Korea had the fastest average download speed on 5G, clocking in at 142.3 Mbps. Following closely behind were Norway with 107.8 Mbps and Switzerland with 103.4 Mbps. The same study also found that Seoul and Oslo had the highest average 5G speeds among capitals worldwide (578.6 Mbps and 556.3 Mbps, respectively). On the flip side, a few countries need to catch up in rolling out 5G technology, such as India, Africa, and Latin America. For instance, as of August 2023, India only had one commercial 5G network. During the second quarter of 2023, the average download speed over 5G in India was just 18.7 Mbps.

Initiatives to Bridge the 5G Coverage Gap in 2023: Will 5G Get Better?

To tackle the differences in 5G coverage across different regions, governments, operators, vendors, and other groups have taken up several initiatives to enhance and broaden 5G networks in areas that have been overlooked. You can check out some examples of these initiatives below.

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US has set aside $8.5 billion for RDOF. Its goal is to provide high-speed internet access to more than six million homes and businesses in rural areas across the United States. Additionally, the FCC will hold another round of the auction in 2023. This round will focus on areas with limited broadband coverage and not selected in the first round. The second phase is going to have a budget of $4.4 billion.

5G Fund for Rural America

The FCC has changed the name of the Rural 5G Fund (R5F) to the 5G Fund for Rural America. They also bumped up its budget to a whopping $10 billion. It plans to kick off the first phase of the fund in 2023, allocating $8 billion for areas that don't have access to 4G LTE or 5G mobile broadband service without subsidies. On the flip side, the second phase will set aside $2 billion for areas requiring extra network development or usage assistance.

EU-Wide 5G Coverage by 2030

The European Union has a new goal of achieving 5G coverage across the entire EU by 2030 instead of just covering all populated areas with 5G. This is part of their Digital Decade vision. This means that 5G should be available everywhere in the USA, including in remote and rural areas and along major transportation routes.

Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

The EU has launched the CEF program, which is all about helping develop digital infrastructure across the EU, including 5G networks. Additionally, the European Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) aims to support innovation and digitalization in agriculture using 5G-enabled solutions.

National Rural Broadband Network

China has been really ramping up its 5G networks all over the country, and they've already set up more than 2.3 million base stations by the end of 2023. It started a test program to construct a nationwide rural broadband network using satellite communications and wireless technologies, including 5G. The pilot project aims to give broadband access to more than 200 million people living in rural areas by 2025.

Regional Connectivity Program (RCP)

Australia has started the Regional Connectivity Program (RCP), which gives $130 million for projects that enhance broadband services in regional and remote areas, as a part of its Digital Transformation Strategy. This means that broadband should be available and affordable for everyone in the United States, including in remote and rural areas and along major transportation routes.

$32.5 million Digital Tech Hub

Australia's Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) helps with different technologies like fixed wireless, satellite, mobile, and fiber optic solutions. The RCP also has a Digital Tech Hub worth $32.5 million. It offers online resources and advice to help communities in the region access digital services and technologies. The RCP also backs innovation and digitalization in agriculture with 5G-enabled solutions, like the Smart Farms Initiative. This initiative aims to improve farm productivity and sustainability.

India’s Fast 5G Rollout in 2023

India has made some major strides in getting 5G networks up and running all over the country. As of March 2023, there are already more than 115,000 sites emitting 5G signals. India's 5G rollout is super fast, one of the quickest in the world! In just six months, they've already brought 5G to over 600 cities. It started a bunch of pilot projects and initiatives to show how superb 5G can be. One of them is the SmartAgriHubs project, which brings together farmers, agri-food businesses, researchers, and tech companies to create a network of digital innovation hubs.

Technological Advancements and Future Prospects

Does 5G make a difference? Yes, 5G networks are already doing excellent with speed, capacity, latency, and reliability. However, there’s still more room for improvement and new ideas. Ongoing research and development efforts are looking into new ways to improve 5G coverage and performance and getting ready for the next generation of wireless technologies after 5G.

Ongoing Research and Development to Enhance 5G Coverage

How will 5G get better? One of the critical areas of research and development to improve 5G coverage is to use new spectrum bands and technologies that can make 5G signals travel further and work better.

Terahertz (THz) Spectrum

THz means frequencies above 300 gigahertz. It provides breakneck speeds and a lot of bandwidth, but it also has issues with a lot of signal loss and interference. To tackle these challenges, researchers in the USA are working on techniques like ultra-massive MIMO, intelligent reflecting surfaces, and holographic beamforming. These methods aim to enhance the coverage and quality of THz signals.

Sub-1 GHz Spectrum

These frequencies are below 1 GHz, which means they provide extensive coverage and excellent penetration compared to the sub-6 GHz spectrum. However, they have limited bandwidth and can get congested quickly. Researchers are looking into ways to make the most of the sub-1 GHz spectrum in the USA. They are exploring methods like cognitive radio, which lets operators use the spectrum based on availability and demand.

Integrated Access and Backhaul

Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) is a technology combining access and backhaul functions in a single network solution. It uses the same spectrum and technology to connect both users and base stations. IAB can help out terrestrial networks by cutting down on the need for fiber or microwave connections and also by giving more options and room for growth when setting up a network.

The Potential of 5G Standalone (SA) Network Architecture

The architecture of 5G standalone (SA) networks has become more advanced and widely used in recent years. Many operators and vendors have started offering commercial or trial 5G SA networks and services. 5G SA is all about a brand new 5G packet core architecture. It’s designed to make the most of 5G’s fantastic features, like network slicing, edge computing, super reliable and fast communication (URLLC), and communication with tons of machines (mMTC). 5G SA has a bunch of advantages compared to the current 5G non-standalone (NSA) setup. With NSA, you must connect to 4G and 5G base stations and use the existing 4G core network. Here are some of the advantages.

Quicker and Easier Deployment

5G SA doesn't need any old equipment or compatibility problems, which makes it easier and cheaper to set up. Operators can also roll out 5G Standalone (SA) in new spectrum bands that aren't used by 4G, like mmWave or mid-band frequencies.

Performance and Efficiency

5G SA can give you faster data speeds, less delay, and better reliability compared to 5G Non-Standalone (NSA). This is because SA doesn't require dual connectivity and extra signaling, which can slow things down. It can also let operators create personalized virtual networks.

Flexibility and Scalability

5G SA leverages new technologies such as edge computing, URLLC, mMTC, and NTNs. It can also adapt to changing network conditions and user demands using cloud-native principles and software-defined networking (SDN).

The Impact of 5G Coverage on User Experience

Is 5G really better? One of the most exciting things about 5G coverage is how it’s going to make our experience with different apps and devices even better. With 5G coverage, you can download big files in a matter of seconds, watch high-quality videos without any buffering, and engage with online platforms in real time. You can also enjoy better connectivity and smooth experiences with 5G, as it can handle more devices and users at the same time without any drop in performance.

5G coverage can also make it possible to do new and cool things that we couldn’t do before with older wireless networks. For instance, 5G can totally handle augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) apps that need a lot of bandwidth and super quick response time to make mind-blowing and lifelike experiences. You can also use 5G to access cloud computing and edge computing services, giving you extra storage, processing, and security features for your data and applications. To show how 5G coverage affects user experience, here are some real-life examples and testimonials from various sectors and industries:


  • Interactive and personalized content.
  • Enhance your level of service in remote places.
  • For example, there was this school in Finland that used 5G to make a VR classroom where students could learn about the solar system in a really cool and exciting way.


  • Telemedicine and remote surgery
  • Making patient care better and more efficient.
  • For instance, there was this hospital in China that used 5G to carry out brain surgery on a patient who was 3,000 kilometers away from the surgeon.


  • Improve the quality and range of content delivery and consumption.
  • For instance, there was this music festival in South Korea that used 5G to livestream performances in super high-definition 4K resolution and even offered some cool augmented reality features for the crowd.


  • 5G can make travel and getting around safer and more convenient. 
  • For instance, there was this city in Germany that tried out 5G to test self-driving cars that can talk to each other and the infrastructure.


So, does 5G have better coverage? It’s getting there. 5G is a game-changing technology that’s gonna provide way better coverage than its older versions. However, getting full 5G coverage has its own set of challenges and limitations. It takes a lot of work to build up the necessary network infrastructure, make investments, form collaborations, conduct research and development, and establish regulations. It also deals with geographical differences and technological advancements that impact how it’s used and accepted. Despite these challenges, 5G coverage has already proven to be beneficial for different use cases and user experiences. It can give you faster data speeds, less delay, better connectivity, smooth experiences, and new opportunities for various applications and devices. Does 5G have better signal than 4G? Definitely. As more people start using 5G networks, we can expect to see a bunch of cool new stuff that will make our lives easier, smarter, and just plain better. In addition, experience super fast internet speeds like never before with Nybsys, your trusted private 5G network provider. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can assist you with your 5G requirements.

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