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AT&T Says Mobile 5G Network Launch 'Weeks' Away

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Oct 24, 2018, 10:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

AT&T is nearly ready to launch its mobile 5G network, according to CEO John Donovan. Speaking during the company's earnings call today, Donovan said, "AT&T is on track to be the first wireless carrier to introduce mobile 5G services in the United States in the next few weeks. This will be standards-based 5G." The company had previously committed to launching mobile 5G before the end of the year. Rather than go to market with phones, AT&T's first 5G device will be a puck-style mobile hotspot. AT&T has yet to share details about the device. 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 hasn't said how quickly it will expand its 5G footprint. The company has been upgrading its LTE network to what it calls 5G Evolution, a version of LTE-LAA that is able to boost throughput and speeds. AT&T expects to have LTE-LAA in 400 markets by the end of the year, with nationwide coverage expected by mid-2019. AT&T's mobile 5G launch follows Verizon's recent launch of fixed 5G. Verizon is offering non-3GPP spec 5G TF as an in-home broadband service in a handful of markets. Verizon's mobile 5G network won't get off the ground until next year. The same goes for the mobile 5G networks of Sprint and T-Mobile.

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