5G in the USA: Spring Fever
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.
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
- AT&T Adds 2 More US Cities to 5G Plans in 2019
- 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: 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
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
- T-Mobile Sees 500Mbit/s Speeds on Its 5G mmWave Spectrum
- T-Mobile to Roll Out 5G in 30 US Cities in 2018
- T-Mobile Promises 'Nationwide' 5G in 2020 With New Spectrum
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
- Verizon Announces First Mobile 5G Cities & Mobile Moto Module
- 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?
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