5G in the USA: A Post-CES Update

Dan Jones
1/14/2019

5G has finally arrived in the US, with several AT&T and Verizon markets up and running. And more markets and devices are coming in the first half of this year.

Yet, this month has mostly been tied up with debates about what is real and isn't real 5G, as AT&T started displaying "5G EVO" identifiers (for 4G LTE-Advanced) on customers' phones. (See Verizon, AT&T Spar Over 5G Service Names, Marketing and AT&T's Donovan Defends the Carrier's 5G Fibs.)

So let's run down the latest on 5G deployments. Notably as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has said, it will launch "sub-6GHz" low-band 5G in 2020 to supplement its existing high-band millimeter wave 5G service.


What are the key technologies and processes that will underpin successful, full 5G deployments? Check out our 5G Big Picture Prime Reading report to find out.


So let's take a look at the latest 5G developments:


Blue flags indicate AT&T, red flags show Verizon, magenta for T-Mobile and yellow for Sprint. Expand the map to see a larger version and the carriers' overlapping cities.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)
What: Mobile 5G using the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) standard with fixed wireless 5G expected in 2020
Where: Parts of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio and Waco (2018)
Parts of Las Vegas, Nashville, Orlando, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose (2019)
When: Mobile 5G is being rolled out now
Frequencies: 2018 (& beyond): 39GHz; post-2020: Sub-6GHz
Suppliers (known so far): Ericsson, Netgear, Nokia, Samsung
Devices: Netgear Nighthawk 5G
Anticipated download speeds: Theoretical peaks pegged at 1.2Gbit/s, while actual speeds will be lower, according to AT&T
Capex plan for 2018: $22 billion (anticipated) 2019: $23 billion (anticipated)

For more:

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)
What: Mobile 5G using the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) standard
Where: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles New York City, Phoenix and Washington, DC
When: First half of 2019
Frequencies: 2.5GHz
Suppliers (known so far): Ericsson, HTC, LG Electronics, Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm
Devices: Smartphones and a 5G hotspot
Anticipated download speeds: 250-300 Mbit/s (mobile)
Capex plan for 2018: $5-$6 billion

For more:

T-Mobile US Inc.
What: Mobile 5G using the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) standard
Where: Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City and 26 other cities
When: 5G will arrive in the first half of 2019 as compatible smartphones arrive, with a nationwide rollout to be completed in 2020
Frequencies: 600MHz, 28GHz, 39GHz
Suppliers (known so far): Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm
Devices: Smartphones
Anticipated download speeds: 100-200 Mbit/s (mobile)
Capex plan for 2018: $4.9-$5.3 billion

For more:

Verizon Wireless
What: Fixed 5G using its home-grown 5GTF spec first, with mobile 5G using the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) standard coming "sometime" in 2019
Where: Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento
When: October 2018 (Panama City: TBD)
Frequencies: 28GHz
Suppliers (known so far): Ericsson, Samsung, Qualcomm
Devices: 5G customer premises equipment and home routers, smartphones (with mobile 5G)
Anticipated download speeds: 300 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s (fixed)
Capex plan for 2018: $16.6-$17 billion

For more:

What does this mean in the real world?
Early 5G services are now up and running in the US, but mobile devices and services are likely to become more prevalent in the spring.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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