You’ll Never Believe Which Obscure US Region Has Brand-New 5G

While driving to look for the best mobile network in America, we weren’t surprised to see AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon competing for top speeds in the nation’s big cities. But we were shocked to see the carriers dueling it out at the tail-end of America: in the Florida Keys.

AT&T hasn’t announced this, but we saw AT&T’s brand-new C-band 5G in Key Largo, Long Key, and Big Pine Key, although not in Key West. AT&T confirmed those locations, as well as Islamorada and Marathon. The carriers seem to be divvying up the Keys for now. T-Mobile and Verizon have their fastest 5G on Key Largo and in Key West. AT&T has the middle.

And it’s all clearly a work in progress. Verizon has five towers in Key West, according to CellMapper. Verizon’s own coverage map shows probably three of the five have C-band.

The new tech has little hamlets like Layton, Florida, posting blistering AT&T download speeds of 391Mbps, while Verizon and T-Mobile both show speeds over 300Mbps in Key West.

Fast 5G in the Florida Keys: AT&T in blue, T-Mobile in yellow, and Verizon in red

fast 5g in key west

Fast 5G in Key West: AT&T in blue, T-Mobile in yellow, and Verizon in red

So What’s It For?

colorful homes in key west, florida

(Photo: ferrantraite/Getty Images)

Yes, you can livestream your marlin fishing in 4K. But the real opportunity here is home internet—especially if what you have in the Keys is a vacation home.

Wireless 5G home internet takes a lot less in terms of installation than wired, it typically doesn’t require a contract, and it beats the heck out of satellite. If you can get it, it’s less cheaper than Starlink.

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Key West is eligible for Verizon 5G home internet. Key Largo looks like it has T-Mobile home internet right now. And on Long Key, you might want to look into an AT&T hotspot.

To find the best mobile provider in bigger cities—including who might be offering 5G home Internet now or soon—see our Best Mobile Networks feature.

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