AT&T's 'Mobile' 5G: What the Puck?

Dan Jones
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson shed a little bit more light on the -- ahem -- mobile "puck" that the operator will offer with its first mobile 5G network, expected in late 2018, on the company's earnings call Wednesday evening.

Surprise, surprise, it surely sounds like a router for distributing the 5G signal among various WiFi devices, which is fair enough, but not really a "mobile" device to my mind. Here's the full quote:

"It's not going to be a handset, because handsets just aren't available, think of this as a puck," Stephenson said on the call. Commercial 5G smartphones aren't expected until sometime in 2019. (See AT&T to Spend Trump Tax Bump on Fiber, 5G 'Foundation'.)

Call me old-fashioned -- hell, call me "Cyril" for all I care -- but I think of a moveable signal router as a classically nomadic device not a mobile device, since you're likely supporting PCs, laptops and the like with the signal from the 5G "puck."

Personally, I feel a 5G mobile device should be either be a smartphone or a tablet -- at least right now. Eventually a 5G connected car will probably count as a mobile device too of course, but not in late 2018.

Maybe I'm being too much of a stickler? Let me know in the comments below.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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