Three more cities will get super-fast AT&T 5G this year

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AT&T and arch-rival Verizon will be among the first U.S. carriers to offer 5G.
Photo: Luismt94/Wikipedia CC

AT&T promised to bring the next generation of cellular wireless technology to a dozen cities before the end of this year. It just hasn’t revealed which ones yet.

The carrier started the teasing process a few months ago, announcing that Atlanta, Dallas and Waco, Texas, will get mobile 5G.

Today it added Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to the list. AT&T says it’s mixing big and mid-size cities for this first wave of 5G rollout.

“We’re on track to launch the first mobile 5G services and deliver the first device to customers this year,” said Melissa Arnoldi, AT&T’s president of echnology & operations, in a statement.

What AT&T 5G has to offer

Today’s phones with 4G LTE are quick, but 5G New Radio (NR) is expected to be up to 10 times faster — or maybe even 20 times faster — with speeds hitting multiple gigabits per second. That said, real-world speeds will likely be about five times quicker under good conditions.

Still, that’s enough to make some people very optimistic. “We believe 5G will ultimately create a world of new economic opportunity, greater mobility, and smarter connectivity for individuals, businesses and society as a whole,” said Arnoldi.

And the competition?

AT&T certainly isn’t the only one of the Big 4 carriers deploying a 5G network. Verizon says it will also begin 5G service before the end of 2018.

Sprint and T-Mobile are trying to merge, and are using 5G as a reason why the government should approve this process. The two companies say they’ll be able to deploy this new cellular technology more quickly working together.

Progress toward a 5G world passed a major hurdle last month, when the 3GPP agreed on a Standalone 5G NR radio specifications standard. Actual smartphones with this next-gen tech aren’t expected until 2019 at the earliest. A 5G iPhone might not happen until 2020.