AT&T 5G network goes live in 10 markets, but speed is a concern?

AT&T announced on Friday that its 5G network is now live in 10 markets in order to take on main rival Verizon.
AT&T 5G network expansion
AT&T’s 5G services are available in Birmingham, Alabama; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; Pittsburgh; Providence, Rhode Island; Rochester, New York; San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, California.

AT&T’s 5G consumers can now access AT&T’s 5G network using the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G. AT&T has also revealed the attractive 5G smartphone buying plans for its 5G customers across the United States.

Scott Mair, president of AT&T Technology Operations, said: “We were the first in the U.S. to offer commercial mobile 5G, and this is the next step as we build to nationwide service in the first half of 2020.”

No innovation?

AT&T is including 5G access on its two most expensive 4G plans – the $85 Unlimited Extra plan and the $95 Unlimited Elite plan. T-Mobile is charging the same price for both 4G and 5G services.

Verizon continues to waive the $10 per month extra it wants to charge for 5G, while Sprint includes 5G access on its two most expensive 4G plans. Both Verizon and Sprint have limitations when it comes to 5G coverage, while data speeds are measurably higher on both networks.

“Performance is an issue. AT&T’s new deployments in its low-band spectrum do not result in data speeds that are significantly faster than 4G. Neither does T-Mobile’s deployment of 5G. As such, we are seeing little innovation on the data pricing and feature side,” Lynnette Luna, principal analyst at GlobalData, said.

Lynnette Luna said as 5G begins to mature, carriers will be challenged to monetize 5G. Pricing is now established so carriers will need to usher in new value-added services (VAS) that play into the strengths of 5G, such as gaming. This will enable them to increase revenue.

AT&T is marketing two types of 5G networks: Its low-band 5G that went live on Friday for regular consumers. It’s marginally faster than today’s 4G LTE networks but isn’t the super-fast 5G.

AT&T’s 5G+ network that launched last December for corporate clients and uses high-band mmWave technology offers speeds that are roughly 10 times faster than LTE and is most compelling, even though mmWave technology doesn’t travel far and requires you to be near a transmission tower. It works best if you’re in a place like a football stadium and not moving around, CNBC reported.

The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G announced on Friday doesn’t support the 5G+ network. It supports AT&T’s slower but more widespread lower-band 5G network.

Future plans

AT&T said its 5G will be available in Boston, Bridgeport, Conn., Buffalo, N.Y., Las Vegas, Louisville, Ky., New York City, and other markets soon. AT&T aims nationwide coverage of 5G in the first half of 2020.

AT&T customers can purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G in AT&T stores or online at Customers can get the device for $350.

“With the launch of AT&T 5G for consumers, we’re bringing customers innovative ways to connect with each other, their entertainment and their communities,” said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president AT&T Mobility.

Baburajan K