US wireless operator AT&T on Friday announced plans to introduce mobile 5G 12 cities this year. But customers need a puck-shaped device to access the 5G network with their current mobile phones.
Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. Oklahoma City, Dallas, Atlanta and Waco are the cities that will get mobile 5G from AT&T. AT&T will be announcing the remaining 6 cities where 5G will be available.
“We’re deliberately launching with a mix of big and mid-sized cities. All Americans should have access to next-gen connectivity to avoid a new digital divide,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology & Operations.
AT&T plans to introduce a puck-shaped device to allow users to access the 5G network with their current mobile phones because 5G smartphones are not expected to be available until 2019, AT&T chief technology officer Andre Fuetsch told Reuters.
Ken Hyers, director, Emerging Device Technologies at Strategy Analytics, earlier said: “We expect early 5G smartphones in 2019 and 2020 to be very expensive, approaching $1000, due to their high technical complexity and normal early mover premiums.”
AT&T said its foundational 5G Evolution technology is now live in more than 140 markets, reaching at least 400 plus markets this year. 5G Evolution markets are locations where AT&T has deployed the latest technologies that enable peak wireless speeds of at least 400 megabits per second on capable devices.
AT&T has also launched LTE-LAA – offering peak theoretical wireless speeds reaching up to 1 gigabit per second — in parts of 8 new markets including Austin, Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, San Antonio, San Jose, Tampa, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, bringing the coverage to 15 markets.
LTE-LAA is available in parts of Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, McAllen, San Francisco, and Sacramento.
AT&T has been conducting 5G trials in South Bend, Indiana; Waco, Texas; Austin, Texas; and Kalamazoo, Michigan. And recently, we’ve been sharing our view on 5G’s promise for both consumers and businesses.
Reuters reported that the competition to launch 5G network is heating up, as AT&T’s smaller rivals T-Mobile US and Sprint plan to merge to better invest in its network.