AT&T 5G Availability, Progress and Updates

AT&T 5G Availability, Progress and Updates



AT&T’s come a long way since they first introduced their 4G LTE network to customers in 2011. Over the course of 9 years, AT&T’s made huge strides in their nationwide 4G LTE coverage, delivering their blazing fast wireless data services to more than 162 million subscribers across the country. With 99% of the country already covered in 4G LTE, it’s now time to look ahead to AT&T’s next generation 5GE, 5G, and 5G+ networks.

 

What is AT&T’s 5G network?

AT&T 5G Evolution

Introduced back in 2018, AT&T got a head start on rival networks with the release of 5G Evolution. Also known as 5GE, the wireless technology operates on AT&T’s existing 4G LTE network and gets its name by employing several new 5G technologies (carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO, and 256-QAM) for greater transfer rates. This allows 5GE to (theoretically) deliver twice the data speeds of 4G LTE, although these upgrades aren’t necessarily unique to AT&T’s 5GE network, with other carriers labeling it “LTE Advanced.”

The good news is you don’t even need a new AT&T phone plan to take advantage of 5G Evolution, and many recent devices are already 5GE ready. AT&T 5GE phones include older devices like the Galaxy S8+, Galaxy Note 9, iPhone X, the iPhone 8, and newer models.

AT&T 5G

AT&T has already begun laying the groundwork on their next generation network and unlike 5GE, it’s actually a real 5G network. Still in its infancy, AT&T’s next gen wireless technology comes in two flavors: 5G and 5G+.

So what’s the difference between AT&T 5G and 5G+? Both AT&T 5G and 5G+ are true, standards-based 5G, only they operate a bit differently. Standard 5G is for consumers and uses AT&T’s low-band spectrum for greater coverage, allowing it to reach rural/suburban areas. In theory, low-band 5G should offer similar range to AT&T’s existing 3G and 4G networks, only with a significant speed boost and substantially lower latency.

Meanwhile, 5G+ is for AT&T business customers and uses ultra-high frequency (39GHz and 24 GHz) mmWave spectrum. Due to the ultra-high frequencies, 5G+ is capable of delivering gigabit data speeds but with a limited range of about 1,000 feet, making it better suited for dense, high-traffic areas like cities, colleges, sports arenas, and shopping centers.

 

When will AT&T 5G be available?

AT&T already launched 5G+ in the middle of last year, exclusively for their business customers and is currently live in parts of 21 US cities, with 9 more being added in 2020. AT&T recently announced that they’ve started rolling out their low-band 5G network (850 MHz) for consumers in 5 cities, with 10+ additional cities coming by the end of the year. AT&T says the 5G/5G+ rollouts will cover “tens of millions” of consumers and businesses with their new 5G network, with nationwide low-band 5G launching sometime during the first half of 2020.

It’s worth noting that AT&T’s upcoming 5G network requires a compatible AT&T plan as well as a 5G-enabled phone. Which AT&T plans include 5G? AT&T 5G is available on Unlimited Elite, and Unlimited Extra plans (not the Unlimited Starter plan) at no extra cost.

 

AT&T 5G coverage map

Because AT&T 5G isn’t quite ready for prime time and has only begun rolling out to customers, it’s tough to find an actual nationwide coverage map. Instead, AT&T is providing a map that pinpoints cities where 5G is available in some capacity. Although they don’t yet provide a nationwide coverage map for 5G, they do have individual maps for each market where their service is live. You can find AT&T’s 5G consumer coverage maps right here.

 

Where is AT&T 5G available?

AT&T is well on their way to rolling out their new 5G network to customers around the US. With AT&T starting their low-band 5G rollout in major cities like New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, and more on the way, there’s a good chance 5G is already available in your area or it’s coming soon. Remember, there are two different varieties of AT&T 5G: standard 5G for consumers and 5G+ for businesses. For a full list of cities where AT&T 5G and 5G+ is currently available, see the lists below.

AT&T 5G is now available in these cities:

AT&T 5G+ available in select areas of these cities:

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • West Hollywood, CA
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Louisville, KY
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • New York City, NY
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • King of Prussia, PA
  • Nashville, TN
  • Austin, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Waco, TX

Which AT&T phones have 5G?

If you’re wondering whether AT&T has a 5G phone, there’s only one phone that will be compatible with AT&T’s 5G (low-band) network and that’s the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note+ 5G. Not to be confused with the standard Note 10+ also offered by AT&T, you’ll want to make sure to keep an eye out for the 5G in the name for it to be the 5G enabled model. The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G is currently available for pre-order, with a release date sometime in the coming weeks.

Keep in mind the Galaxy Note 10 is only compatible with AT&T’s standard low-band 5G and is not compatible with their mmWave 5G+ network. At the moment there are no devices compatible with both of AT&T’s standard 5G and 5G+ wireless networks. Of course, this Note 10+ will only be the first of many 5G compatible devices to ship next year, so we’ll be continually updating this post as new devices are released.

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