AT&T 5G: When and Where You Can Get It (Updated for 2020)

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

AT&T is one of many carriers in the process of releasing a 5G network throughout the US, and was the first to launch mobile 5G services in select cities on December 21, 2018.

AT&T offers two types of 5G service depending on how far the signal needs to reach. The 5G+ service that uses millimeter wave spectrum is available in 35 cities. The low-band network has currently reached over 200 million people in the US and is usable in nearly 400 locations.

AT&T logo
AT&T

The 5G network from AT&T is mobile, meaning that customers can access the network from anywhere they get AT&T service. The company is also planning to offer a fixed wireless access (FWA) solution where you can get 5G internet at home.

While the AT&T 5G mobile plan isn’t yet available for purchase by most of the public, 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

AT&T's 5G+ service is live in parts of 35 cities:

  • AZ: Phoenix
  • CA: Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Oakland, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, West Hollywood
  • FL: Jacksonville, Miami, Miami Gardens, Orlando
  • GA: Atlanta
  • IN: Indianapolis
  • KY: Louisville
  • LA: New Orleans
  • MD: Baltimore, Ocean City
  • MI: Detroit
  • NC: Charlotte, Raleigh
  • NV: Las Vegas
  • NY: New York City
  • OH: Cleveland
  • OK: Oklahoma City
  • PA: King of Prussia, Philadelphia
  • TN: Nashville
  • TX: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Waco

AT&T's low-band, 5G network is available in 395 areas, including Baltimore MD, Birmingham AL, Bridgeport CT, Buffalo NY, Detroit MI, Indianapolis IN, Las Vegas NV, Louisville KY, Los Angeles CA, Milwaukee WI, New York City NY, Philadelphia PA, Pittsburgh PA, Providence RI, Rochester NY, San Diego CA, San Francisco CA, San Jose CA, Washington D.C., Spokane WA, Worth County GA, York PA, Chattooga County GA, Hunterdon County NJ, Hancock County OH, Harrisburg PA, Huntsville AL, Kent County DE, Lexington-Fayette KY, Otsego County NY, Reading PA, Reno NV, Sandusky County OH, Santa Cruz CA, Springfield MO, Storey County NV, Syracuse NY, Topeka KS, Trenton NJ, Tuscarawas County OH, Washington County IL, and others.

AT&T will provide mobile service in more cities in the future.

AT&T 5G Plan Details

AT&T is branding their mmWave spectrum network as 5G+. Their nationwide, low-band network is called 5G.

See AT&T's 5G phones to see what's compatible with the network. Select businesses and consumers can also get access to AT&T's 5G service with the NETGEAR Nighthawk® 5G Mobile Hotspot, which connects to the network via a pre-installed SIM card.

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 is like, delivering theoretical speeds of up to 400 Mbps (though often around 40 Mbps in real-world situations).

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

During 2019, the company put a "5G E" logo at the top of some Android and iOS devices to show that the device is connected to a 5G Evolution cell tower. However, while 5G Evolution is faster than LTE, it's important to know that 5G E refers not to LTE or to AT&T's coming mobile 5G service, but instead to 5G Evolution.

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 service AT&T has already released or is about to release this year, not a FWA service that will beam internet to your home.

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

AT&T Wireless Broadband is the company's current newest AT&T Business offering that's set to provide speeds of up to 50 Mbps. This is one component that AT&T says provides the groundwork for customers to upgrade to AT&T 5G as it becomes available.

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.

In early 2019, the company's CEO said that in a "three- to five-year time horizon, unequivocally, 5G will serve as a fixed broadband replacement product,” and that he's "very convicted that that will be the case. We are obviously on a standards-based path that is mobile first.”