AT&T 5G: When and Where You Can Get It

AT&T 5G rollout plans and how 5G Evolution is paving the way

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AT&T Intellectual Property

AT&T is one of many US carriers planning to release a mobile 5G network in at least some cities in late 2018. Currently, AT&T has confirmed over a dozen 5G cities and plans to announce more in 2019.

The AT&T 5G network will be mobile to start with, meaning that once 5G phones are available, customers can access the 5G network from anywhere they get AT&T service. It won't be until late 2019 that AT&T will offer a fixed wireless access (FWA) solution where you can get 5G internet at home.

The 5G mobile network from AT&T will use both millimeter wave spectrum and mid and low-band spectrum, depending on the demand of the coverage area.

AT&T's initial 5G rollout will be in enterprise first, before moving to consumers. With the help of Samsung's 5G network equipment, AT&T is using their "Innovation Zone" in Austin, Texas, to learn more about 5G's role in smart factories.

While an AT&T 5G plan isn’t yet available, their 5G Evolution service works in hundreds of markets. 5G Evolution not only allows ultrafast speeds but lays the groundwork for 5G rollouts.

AT&T 5G Cities

Plans are underway for a mobile 5G internet release before the end of 2018 in the following cities:

  • Atlanta
  • Charlotte
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Jacksonville
  • Louisville
  • New Orleans
  • Oklahoma City
  • Raleigh
  • San Antonio
  • Waco

AT&T tested 5G in Waco and in Dallas in 2018, with the NETGEAR Nighthawk® 5G Mobile Hotspot. That device will be available for their 2018 5G markets, but the company is also working with Samsung to release two 5G phones in 2019.

AT&T’s 5G network will be available in at least 19 cities in 2019, including these:

  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Nashville
  • Orlando
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose

AT&T 5G Evolution Markets

5G Evolution is a term AT&T uses to describe their ultrafast wireless internet service. It’s available in only select locations but provides a taste of what full-blown 5G will be like, delivering speeds of 400 Mbps and higher.

AT&T has upgraded its cell towers to support 5G Evolution not only to enable faster speeds that users can take advantage of right now, but also to more easily upgrade them to 5G when ready — once 5G radios are installed, software can be used to push out new functionalities and upgrades.

These are just some of the 5G Evolution cities that AT&T supports:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Bridgeport
  • Buffalo
  • Chicago
  • Fresno
  • Greenville
  • Hartford
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Los Angeles
  • Louisville
  • Memphis
  • Nashville
  • New Orleans
  • Oklahoma City
  • Pittsburgh
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Tulsa
  • Sacramento

AT&T plans to end the year with 5G Evolution in over 400 markets, and will continue to deploy it in the first half of 2019 to reach 200 million people.

AT&T's 5G Fixed Wireless Access Service

AT&T currently offers fixed wireless internet, but not of the 5G variety. All of the cities mentioned above pertain to the mobile 5G service AT&T plans to release, not a FWA service that will beam internet to your home.

However, AT&T has been running 5G fixed wireless internet trials in places like South Bend IN, Kalamazoo MI, Austin TX, and Waco TX. The speeds seen in one of these 5G deployments were upwards of 1 Gbps, with less than 20 ms latency.

Beginning in late 2019, AT&T will make its move to provide 5G fixed wireless access to areas that don't currently have broadband service, but no specific cities have been announced. However, they will kick it off by using LTE in Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum before migrating to 5G.