AT&T Adds Trio of New Cities for 5G Launch in 2018

Dan Jones
News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor


AT&T is adding three new cities to its mobile 5G launch plans for late 2018.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) said Friday that it is adding Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. and Oklahoma City to its 5G buildout plans, along with the already announced markets in Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco, Texas. The operator has said that it will launch 5G in up to 12 towns and cities in the US by the end of the year. (See AT&T Reveals Initial 5G Cities.)

AT&T now has the most aggressive announced plans for delivering 5G in the US in 2018. The carrier has now said that it will provide 3GPP-based mobile -- not just fixed -- 5G in six named markets in the US in 2018.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has pushed fixed 5G for its first two named 5G markets -- Sacramento and Los Angeles -- and says it could launch in between three and five markets in 2018, while also promising to be first with mobile 5G. (See Verizon: We'll Be First With Fixed & Mobile 5G and Verizon Taps Samsung for Sacramento, Ericsson for LA 5G.)

AT&T hasn't yet said what spectrum band it will use for its initial 5G deployments, although many in the industry widely anticipate 39GHz. AT&T has so far previewed gigabit -- or near-gigabit -- speeds from its initial fixed 5G tests. (See AT&T 5G Tests Go Gaga for Gigabit.)

Availability of devices is going to be an issue for all very early 5G. Light Reading has talked to several vendors recently, and the expectation is that some 5G hotspots will be available in the fourth quarter of 2018, with smartphones following in the first half of 2019.

AT&T has previously said that it will launch with a "mobile puck" in 2018, apparently a type of a nomadic 5G router that converts a 5G signal to WiFi to connect other devices. (See AT&T's 'Mobile' 5G: What the Puck?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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