AT&T switches on its low-band 5G network in ten cities

AT&T has switched on its low-band 5G network in ten cities across the United States as it ramps up its rollout.

The network launched alongside the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G and is now available to all customers in the ten cities rather than select business partners. 

AT&T's network is now live in:

  • Birmingham, AL

  • Indianapolis, IN

  • Los Angeles, CA

  • Milwaukee, WI

  • Pittsburgh, PA

  • Providence, RI

  • Rochester, NY

  • San Diego, CA

  • San Francisco, CA

  • San Jose, CA

The next cities being targeted for launch are Boston, Bridgeport, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; Las Vegas, Louisville, Kentucky and New York City. A specific date is yet to be set but AT&T says it's working "toward offering nationwide coverage in the first half of 2020".

As a reminder, AT&T now essentially has three types of 5G network live:

  • 5G-E: The controversial network rivals call "fake 5G" because it's actually 4G LTE. AT&T defends the branding as it supports the company's real 5G.

  • 5G: AT&T's first proper 5G network but using low-band 850MHz spectrum known for long-range but slower speeds.

  • 5G+: Arguably the "definitive" version of 5G as it offers high speeds using mmWave but over a short range.

The ten cities where AT&T has launched 5G publicly today are of the middle type. 

5G+ has been live in 23 cities for over a year but is currently limited to specific areas and a select few businesses and developers.

When both types of real 5G networks are rolled out more widely, AT&T plans to use 5G for more general coverage and high bandwidth mmWave in more localised high density areas like stadiums and shopping centres.

Steve Papa, CEO of Parallel Wireless, said:

“AT&T has today become the final major US carrier to launch 5G services for consumers, creating a hotbed of competition in the marketplace. AT&T has always been a leader when it comes to the use of new and innovative network technologies. For the last six years it has been focused on scaling out its virtualization efforts through VNF and SDN, as it moves towards a cloud native network infrastructure. This approach will now enable it to quickly and cost-effectively deploy and scale 5G as demand for the technology grows.

The carrier that will emerge as the leader in 5G will be the one that successfully juggles the benefits of virtualization and open computing. The open computing model is disrupting the telecoms space as carriers of all sizes move away from hardware towards software-centric networks. This approach means networks can support technology from multiple vendors and deliver coverage at a much lower cost. This will be particularly important as carriers look to introduce best in-class solutions to deploy 5G across multiple spectrum bands, such as the mmWave and the sub-6 GHz.”

Telecoms will continue following AT&T's 5G rollout as it ramps up throughout 2020.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data ExpoCyber Security & Cloud Expo and 5G Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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