Does Your New 5G Smartphone Actually Have 5G Signal in Billings?
In the Summer of 2021, I worked as a cellular salesman for a local retailer here in Billings. Every day during work, I was asked at least 10 times if 5G was in Montana. 5G is a type of wireless signal used by many devices, but recently, cell phones have put a larger emphasis on it as it sends information much faster and allows for a more stable connection than 4G. Here in Montana, we may not be as familiar with it, but 5G is indeed here! Let's take a look at the details.
What exactly is 5G?
5G is a generation of cellular technology, with 1G through 4G coming before it. According to PCMag.com, each generation comes with a general increase in speed when it comes to information transfer, as well as a, "...break in encoding methods, or 'air interfaces' that makes it incompatible with the previous generation." In layman's terms, this means that each generation beyond the first becomes more advanced and faster than the generation before it. That's important to cell phone users, as it means that call signals and overall wireless connections happen quicker and are more stable.
What carrier has the best 5G coverage in Billings?
The above map shows the coverage of Verizon Wireless in Billings and surrounding areas. The 5G coverage is highlighted in purple, which covers the Interstate, as well as spotty areas in the Heights. As you'll see from the next images, Verizon has the most 5G and 4G coverage out of any other carrier in the city.
This is AT&T's coverage. As you can see, it's much weaker, with only 5G signal on the Interstate toward Laurel. You even see some 3G coverage outside of Lockwood, which is no longer supported by the majority of carriers in the United States.
The newcomer in town, this is T-Mobile's coverage. There's not a lot of anything here, however, you'll notice a stronger 5G coverage area toward Lockwood and the Huntley Project area.
The good news is that the majority of smartphones at this time are 4G/5G compatible, meaning they can be used in either signal and will switch between the two depending on which signal is stronger. So, those 5G smartphones Montana cellular carriers have will still work. If you want to view the coverage map yourself, you can do so here.