AT&T announced it will be the first company in the United States to offer a mobile 5G device over a commercial, standards-based mobile 5G network on Friday, December 21. The carrier, which has worked closely with its technology suppliers to reach this mobile 5G milestone, said the initial launch will start small and be limited (12 cities), but customers can expect to see enhancements in coverage, speeds and devices as the 5G ecosystem evolves.
“This is the first taste of the mobile 5G era,” Andre Fuetsch, president, AT&T Labs, and chief technology officer said in a statement. “Being first, you can expect us to evolve very quickly. It’s early on the 5G journey and we’re ready to learn fast and continually iterate in the months ahead.”
The 12 cities AT&T’s mobile 5G network will be live in on Dec. 21 include Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh, NC, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, FL., Louisville, KY, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, San Antonio and Waco, TX. AT&T plans to deploy mobile 5G in parts of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, CA during the first half of 2019.
“As the ecosystem evolves, this technology will ultimately change the way we live and conduct business,” Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer, AT&T Business said in a statement. “We expect that our initial adopters will be innovative, growing businesses. They’re the starting point for what we think will be a technology revolution like we’ve never seen before.”
Initial users will be the first to experience NETGEAR® Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot on AT&T’s mobile 5G+ network. 5G+ is built to provide users with a mobile 5G experience over mmWave spectrum, which will offer them a faster mobile experience than standard LTE. Deployment of 5G+ will begin in dense urban areas, but anyone living outside of the 5G+ network coverage can access AT&T and 5G evolution in 385 markets on the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot, the carrier said.
Landlords concerned about what 5G will mean for their existing wireless infrastructure need not be concerned today, but should educate themselves and plan for 5G. The 5G ecosystem where there will any sort of real coverage and an abundance or 5G ready phones is a few years off. “Smart landlords are making sure any system they install is 5G ready”, said Tim Moynihan Sr. VP of Marketing for SOLiD. “When the carriers are ready and 5G phones exists, in-building gear will be ready. The real question will be, how will carriers distribute radios for in-building use and make it economically feasible to do so. This will be a 2020 or 2021 issue as I see it”, said Moynihan.
AT&T also announced through an initial offer it will deliver select businesses and consumers its first mobile 5G device plus 5G data usage at no cost for at least 90 days. Beginning next spring, customers can get the Nighthawk for $499 upfront and 15GB of data for $70 a month on a compatible plan and no annual commitment.