5G in the USA: Spring Fever

Dan Jones
3/21/2019
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Spring has sprung in the US, as mobile 5G starts to arrive in select markets throughout the country.

Verizon announced in the middle of March that its first mobile 5G cities -- Chicago and Minneapolis -- will launch on April 11. This is part of a planned 30-city mobile rollout by the carrier this year. (See Verizon Says Its Mobile 5G Service Is Really Unlimited.)

Meanwhile, AT&T plans to make its mobile 5G service more available to the general public this spring. It plans to sell its 5G mobile hotspot, the Netgear Nighthawk 5G, to the general public for $499.


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, using the icon top right, to see a larger map 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 Chicago, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, 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 1.2 Gbit/s, while actual speeds will be lower, according to AT&T
Capex plan for 2019: $23 billion

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: Initial launches will start in May and into 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, 2019 expectations slated for FY Q4

For more:

  • Sprint Dribbles Out 5G Updates, but Big Picture Still Cloudy
  • Slideshow: Behind the Scenes at Sprint's 5G 'Split'
  • Sprint Teams Up with Cox to Boost Spectrum With Fiber

    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 second 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, Samsung
    Devices: Smartphones
    Anticipated download speeds: 100-200 Mbit/s (mobile)
    Capex plan for 2019: $5.9-$6.1 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 in the first half of 2019
    Where: Fixed: Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento
    Mobile: 30 cities planned for 2019 so far with select areas of Chicago and Minneapolis planned for launch on April 11
    When: October 2018 (fixed), mobile (1H19), (Panama City: TBD)
    Frequencies: 28GHz
    Suppliers (known so far): Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung, Qualcomm
    Devices: Motorola z3 smartphone with snap-on Moto 5G Mod module for mobile, 5G customer premises equipment and home routers for fixed 5G
    Download speeds: 300 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s (fixed)
    Capex plan for 2019: $17 billion - $18 billion

    For more:

    What does this mean in the real world?
    Initial mobile 5G deployments are using millimeter wave (mmWave) connections. In fixed deployments, these have so far offered connectivity at up to 2,000 feet. So initial mobile deployments are being offered in select areas of the first mobile 5G cities. (See 5G: The Density Question and 5G4REAL: MWC19, 5G Handsets & Some Frequency Queries.)

    — Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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