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Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, world: How to view 5G networks where you live

Faster data speeds are coming to your phone, and some are already here. You can track 5G progress in your 'hood.

verizon-vs-sprint-5g

Verizon and Sprint's 5G networks are already a go.

Graphic by Lynn La/CNET

5G is the next big thing for your phone, promising 2x to 10x faster download speeds -- so as the technology begins to roll out on carriers across the world, it's little wonder that you might want to tracking it. A 5G coverage map from Ookla, maker of the popular Speedtest.net app, provides a detailed look at which 5G networks are live in a given place from a given network, and whether that coverage is commercially available or limited. 

In the US, Verizon and Sprint have thrown down in a pitched 5G battle over peak data speeds and wider coverage areas, and AT&T has a network for hotspots (which we haven't been able to test). Meanwhile, South Korea, England and Switzerland have also launched 5G. China is distributing licenses, Japan is building out its towers, and beleaguered Huawei will provide 5G equipment for Russia's largest operator.

The race for 5G may not mean much to you until it's live on your phone, but it's of vital importance to networks and countries. 5G represents the future of business, economic growth and innovation, because it's about far more than data speeds alone. 5G spectrum will make possible everything from self-driving cars that talk to each other on the road to digital surgery and crystal clear real-time gaming and video calls. 

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Ookla's new 5G coverage map.

Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

To track 5G with Ookla's map:

1: Navigate to www.speedtest.net/ookla-5g-map from any browser.

2: Drag the map to find the country you're interested in.

3: Click the bubble to see how many areas have 5G coverage, and from which network.

4: Use the + control to zoom into the map and click the bubble again for more detailed information, e.g. if there are multiple cities across a country with various active 5G networks. You may find you need to zoom in quite a bit to find specific locations in specific cities.

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Right now, the map tracks over 300 5G deployments worldwide. Ookla says that it'll update its tracking map weekly using verified public sources (like a carrier announcement) and Ookla's own data, taken from people who use the Speedtest.net app in 5G coverage areas, to keep you relatively up to date.

5G network hounds can also follow the @Ookla5GMap Twitter account for real-time updates to the tracking map.

Originally published May 14.
Update June 10
: Adds more detail.