Why it matters: Sprint is continuing its rollout of 5G across the United States. While its raw speed isn't as fast as the larger competition, Sprint is concentrating on making sure more people can use its 5G service by utilizing lower frequency bands.
While Sprint continues to try to merge with T-Mobile, the company is lighting up more cities with 5G service. As of today, the carrier is adding four more cities to its 5G coverage map including Washington D.C., Phoenix, Los Angeles, and New York City. This brings the total number of cities under Sprint's 5G coverage area to nine. This amounts to about 11 million customers and over 2,000 square miles.
Earlier this summer, Verizon announced it was expanding its 5G footprint as well. The primary difference is that Verizon is leveraging millimeter wave technology which uses super high frequencies to enable near or at gigabit speeds in the right conditions. Sprint is using the slower, long range 2.5Ghz frequency. Sprint claims that its testing bore out up to 400Mbps, while not slow at all, isn't as fast as the real world 600Mbps that Engadget found on Verizon's 5G network. Sprint says its focusing on broader, high-speed service that can reach more people (especially through buildings) rather than super-high speeds for a few areas.
That said, it may be worth holding off on buying a 5G phone this year. As it was when 4G LTE first rolled out, 5G phones can be expensive and power hungry. Many cities still don't have 5G service and the ones that do probably don't offer full coverage throughout the entire city yet. Simply walking into a building can plop you back down to LTE and is therefore not as reliable. It may be wiser to wait until carriers have built up enough 5G coverage in your particular area before coughing up money for an expensive 5G phone.
While there aren't many 5G devices out now, Sprint currently offers support for three: LG V50 ThinQ, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and the HTC 5G Hub hotspot. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G and the recently announced OnePlus 7 Pro 5G will also be supported.