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.
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)
- AT&T's New Nationwide, Mobile 5G Timeline
- 2019: Samsung Gets Busy With 5G in US
- AT&T's 5G Switches On in 12 US Cities, but Only for 'Early Adopters'
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
- Slideshow: Behind the Scenes at Sprint's 5G 'Split'
- Sprint Teams Up with Cox to Boost Spectrum With Fiber
- Sprint Says No to mmWave, Yes to Mobile 5G
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
- T-Mobile to Test 5G 'Dual-Connectivity' With Vendors
- T-Mobile to Roll Out 5G in 30 US Cities in 2018
- T-Mobile Promises 'Nationwide' 5G in 2020 With New Spectrum
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
- Verizon's Vestberg Mum on 2019 Capex but Ebullient on 5G Prospects
- Verizon Plans to Offer Samsung 5G Phone in H1 2019
- Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear
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