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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

AT&T Says It’s Just ‘Weeks Away’ From Launching Mobile 5G Network

Way back in January of this year, AT&T confirmed that its rollout plans for its 5G mobile network saw the launch happen before the end of 2018.

And it looks like the big blue wireless carrier is indeed sticking to that plan. As was reported by PhoneScoop and Fierce Wireless on Wednesday, AT&T says the launch of its mobile 5G network is just “weeks away”. That’s according to the CEO of the second largest wireless carrier in the United States, John Donovan. The executive broke the news during the company’s latest earnings call.

AT&T expects to be the first wireless carrier in the U.S. to launch mobile 5G. But while smartphone manufacturers are working on 5G-enabled smartphones, those won’t launch until 2019. So AT&T’s first device will actually be a “puck-style” mobile hotspot device. Unfortunately that’s all we know about the device, because AT&T isn’t officially announcing anything just yet, other than its launch plans.

“The company intends to launch with the 3GPP 5G NR standard on 28 GHz spectrum in portions of 12 markets before the close of the year, with plans to reach more markets next year.”

AT&T is also not going into any detail regarding how quickly it plans on expanding the mobile 5G network, either. However, the carrier has been upgrading its LTE towers to support “5G Evolution”, which is basically improved version of LTE-LAA that boosts speeds and throughput. LTE-LAA should be in 400 different markets throughout the United States by the end of the year.

Verizon was first with a 5G network, however that option is fixed and not related to mobile. The big red carrier’s mobile 5G network won’t launch until early 2019, as is the case for Sprint and T-Mobile (whether a merger happens between the two carriers happens or not).

AT&T will surely take the bragging rights for having the first mobile 5G network out there in the wild. But it won’t really matter unless it has plenty of availability for subscribers, which will probably not be the case right out of the gate.

[via PhoneScoop; Fierce Wireless]

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