AT&T will launch its real 5G network in December

AT&T has announced it will launch its 5G network in December, for real this time.

America's largest operator received a lot of criticism for launching "5G-E" earlier this year, which actually uses 4G technology.

The "E" stands for "Evolution" and AT&T reasons that it will be used for its proper 5G network so it's not inaccurate. Of course, average consumers don't necessarily know that.

Critics called 5G-E misleading, rivals mocked it, and Sprint even commissioned research which found that 54 percent of consumers believed that 5G-E networks were the same as, or better than, 5G.

Some have even, argued that AT&T’s decision may harm the whole industry. Consumers expecting a generational jump in performance with 5G would have been disappointed when using their 5G-E devices and may not purchase real 5G devices and services.

With AT&T’s launch of 5G now on the horizon, it'll be interesting to see how the operator reaches out to 5G-E customers and explains that – if they want real 5G – they'll need to buy a new device with a new plan.

AT&T will launch pre-orders for Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, the first phone capable of tapping into AT&T's low-band 5G offering, on Monday. Shipments are due to start in the first half of December.

However, the phone will only support AT&T’s low-band 5G and not its mmWave network that's currently switched on in 21 cities. That means customers may still be disappointed with the speeds.

AT&T's low-band 5G is launching in five cities: Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, R.I., Rochester, N.Y., and San Diego.

The following 10 cities are planned to be supported soon: Boston, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, New York City, San Francisco, Birmingham, Ala., Bridgeport, Conn., Buffalo, N.Y., Louisville, Ky. and San Jose, Calif.

Customers will need to be on one of AT&T’s latest plans to access 5G, either Unlimited Extra or Unlimited Elite. Starting at $75 per month for a single line of Extra, or $85 for Elite, they're not cheap.

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