AT&T Brings 5G to Businesses in Downtown Manhattan

AT&T has launched its millimeter wave "5G+" network in parts of downtown Manhattan today.

The AT&T launch is relatively minimal so far. "In New York, we initially offer responsive and ultra-fast 5G+ access in parts of the East Village, Greenwich Village and Gramercy Park areas," an AT&T spokesperson tells us via email.

The operator is still focused solely on businesses and developers for its millimeter-wave 5G so far. "We haven’t yet detailed plans for when we’ll have a consumer device available. Our focus remains on working with enterprise and developer users to create a 5G ecosystem," says the spokesperson.

AT&T currently has the Samsung S10 5G handset and Netgear Nighthawk 5G hotspot available for use on its mainly 39GHz network. You’ll need a corporate account to make service work.

It seems likely though that a consumer device will arrive when AT&T launches its nationwide sub-6GHz-compatible 5G system in the first half of 2020. AT&T is awaiting delivery of a sub-6GHz-compatible Samsung 5G phone in the second half of this year.

The operator hasn’t answered questions yet from Light Reading on which frequencies it will be using for its expected low-band 5G network next year. The 700MHz band, however, appears to be the most likely candidate so far for AT&T's low-band network, as it is the basis of AT&T’s FirstNet public safety network, and AT&T is already deploying “5G-ready” equipment as part of its FirstNet deployment, which is ongoing now.

Why this matters
AT&T is operating its high-band 5G in parts of 21 US cities now. Unlike rivals, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, Ma Bell is still focusing on business users for now; it offers gigabit 5G in small areas of cities so far and is set to launch a low-band national network next year.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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