AT&T expands lowband, mmWave 5G network

AT&T said its millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G network – which it calls "5G+" – is now available in parts of 38 cities and 20 venues. The operator said it plans to expand that to parts of 40 cities and 40 venues by the end of this year, partly through a new deal with DigitalBridge's Boingo focused on airports.

Concurrently, AT&T announced that its lowband 5G network now covers more than 250 million people across the country, which the operator said is six months ahead of its schedule.

Finally, the operator also unveiled a series of partnerships with the likes of Facebook, Cinemark, and the NBA and WNBA for 5G-powered services and promotional offerings.

And to underscore its focus on 5G, the company hosted a media event in New York City featuring top AT&T executives and actor, producer and investor Ashton Kutcher.

"The impact of 5G on society is going to be massive," Kutcher said, according to a Deadline report of the event. "It's just that it'll take a little time for people to see the results. But as we do, we're going to realize that it was a game-changer."

AT&T recently said it plans to focus more carefully on its 5G and fiber networks following its exit from the media and content industry. AT&T spent $85 billion on Time Warner in 2018 but offloaded it to Discovery earlier this year.

To be clear, though, AT&T's 5G strategy is mostly the same as those from T-Mobile and Verizon. All three operators are working to deploy 5G across their lowband, midband and mmWave spectrum holdings. T-Mobile, for its part, has a demonstrable lead in its midband 5G buildout, while Verizon has extensive mmWave coverage in dozens of outdoor, downtown areas around the country.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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