You have questions about 5G. We have answers. Our hub page for everything 5G. Learn the basics, learn what matters and what doesn't, we answer your questions about safety, and all of the latest 5G news in one place.
Intro to 5G Series:
If you follow tech at all, you've probably been hearing about 5G for a while. If you've managed to avoid the 5G hype so far, brace yourself; the 5G hype machine is just warming up. So what is 5G? Should you care? How does it work?
5G is a new radio technology, so naturally those most concerned about environmental health have been asking if it's safe. There's a lot of science on the subject, and also a lot of pseudo-science. We try to cut through the bull to explain the safety issues with radio waves in general, cell phones in particular, and what makes 5G different.
For the phone industry, 5G is essential. And since they're spending billions on it, they want to justify that expense by getting you, the consumer, excited about it, too. But how will it actually impact you? Do you need a 5G phone? Should you care about 5G in 2019 or 2020?
Important Glossary Terms:
Recent 5G News:
US carriers have revealed launch plans for the new LG V60 ThinQ 5G flagship-class phone. T-Mobile will offer it starting March 20th for $800, or $900 in a bundle with LG's Dual Screen accessory. T-Mobile is also offering a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deal where customers with two or more lines can get a second V60 for free, if both phones are purchased on a 24-month payment plan. AT&T will start taking online orders for the V60 on Friday, March 20th. The phone will cost $900, which includes a free Dual Screen accessory from LG. AT&T is also offering a BOGO deal, but it requires a new line of service. Verizon's version will be slightly pricier and ship later, reflecting that its unique variant supports mmWave 5G, which requires extra components and engineering. (Versions for other US carriers only support sub-6 5G, which is generally slower but offers broader coverage.) Verizon brands mmWave 5G as "Ultra Wideband", which is why its unique variant will be called the LG V60 ThinQ 5G UW. Verizon will sell the phone for $950, with pre-orders starting March 26th. Like AT&T, Verizon is offering a BOGO deal for customers adding a new line, and Verizon customers purchasing a V60 are eligible for a free Dual Screen from LG.
With the launch today of the Samsung Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra, AT&T is now offering consumers access to its faster mmWave "5G+" network in parts of 35 cities. Before today, consumers could only access the company's sub-6 GHz 5G network, which offers broader coverage. The faster mmWave "5G+" network was previously restricted to business customers. To access "5G+", consumers will need to be on either the "Unlimited Extra" or "Unlimited Elite" plan. The Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra are the first phones for the US that can access both types of 5G networks. AT&T also announced plans to launch 5G service for customers of its Cricket prepaid brand, starting "soon" with the Samsung Galaxy S20+ on an unspecified "compatible plan".
AT&T today launched sub-6 GHz 5G in 22 new markets, bringing the company's total sub-6 5G coverage to 80 markets in the US. Sub-6 5G uses lower frequency bands than mmWave 5G, allowing sub-6 5G to offer broader coverage. This is the type of 5G that AT&T is currently offering to consumers. New markets launching today include Columbus, Denver, and Cincinnati, as well as: Albany, Ga.; Albany, N.Y.; Athens, Ga.; Beaverhead County, Mont.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Hamilton, Ohio; Lancaster, Pa.; Lincoln County, Mont.; Madera County, Calif.; Madison County, Va.; Mono County, Calif.; Provo, Utah; Raleigh County, W. Va; Ross County, Ohio; Santa Rosa, Calif.; Springfield, Ohio; State College, Pa.; Sussex County, N.J.; and Worcester, Mass. The company launched 5G in 37 new markets last month, including Atlantic City, Bakersfield, Boston, Dayton, Hartford, Kansas City, New Bedford, New Haven, Portland, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Spokane, St. Louis, Wichita, and Wilmington. AT&T also offers mmWave 5G, which has only been available to business customers so far, but will launch for consumers on Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite plans starting March 6th. mmWave 5G offers higher speeds but limited coverage. AT&T calls this "5G+" and currently offers it in parts of 35 cities.
LG today announced the V60 ThinQ 5G with LG Dual Screen. Its specs are flagship-level, but not quite as top-end as past V-series phones. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular will offer the V60 "in the coming weeks". As with the Samsung Galaxy S20, Verizon's version will supports both mmWave and sub-6 5G, while other versions will only support sub-6 5G (which offers better coverage but not the fastest 5G speeds.) The V60 will be packaged with LG's Dual Screen accessory, which adds a second display identical to phone's main display, connected to the phone with a 360-degree hinge, plus a 2.1-inch monochrome outer display. The V60's is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, and features a 6.8-inch full-HD+ OLED display, 5,000 mAh battery, 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB storage, memory card slot, and Android 10. It also features two rear cameras plus a ToF depth camera. The main camera is 64 megapixel (f/1.8), while the wide-angle camera is 13 megapixel (f/1.9, 117º). It can capture 8K video, as well as 4K time-lapse or 60 fps video. It has stereo speakers and 4 microphones, plus an ASMR recording mode. The phone also features an in-display fingerprint reader, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, Quick Charge 4+, IP68 water rating, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6, and USB-C (3.1). It will be available in blue or white. Specific launch dates and pricing will be announced by US carriers in coming weeks.
AT&T is launching sub-6 GHz 5G service for consumers in 13 new markets this week. In California, the new markets are Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, and Modesto. In Massachusetts, Boston and Bedford are getting 5G this week. The remaining markets are Liberty, GA; Wichita, KS; Frederick, MD; St. Louis, MO; Atlantic City, NJ; and Dayton, OH. With these new launches, AT&T's 5G network for consumers will cover 50 million people across 32 markets. AT&T says it remains on track to offer the service nationwide by the middle of 2020. Separately, AT&T's "5G+" service for businesses is now available in parts of 35 cities across the US. AT&T's "5G+" service uses new mmWave frequencies, which offer high speeds but limited coverage. AT&T's "5G" service for consumers uses more traditional cellular frequencies below 6 GHz (specifically, band 5 at 850 MHz), offering better coverage than mmWave, and speeds that are faster than 4G but not as fast as mmWave 5G. The only phone currently offered by AT&T that supports its consumer 5G network is the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G.
AT&T has finally launched 5G service for consumers as of today, using far-reaching low-band radio frequencies (band 5 / 850 MHz). As the company promised last month, the launch cities include Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, RI, Rochester, NY, and San Diego. However, AT&T managed to accelerate its schedule and launch five additional cities today: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, CA, Milwaukee, and Birmingham, AL. The company has released 5G coverage maps for all consumer launch cities. The only phone AT&T currently offers that supports the service is the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, which runs $1,300. This particular 5G service is distinct from the company's "5G+" service, which uses higher mmWave frequencies and is only available to business customers. mmWave frequencies offer higher data speeds but much more limited coverage. AT&T's phone lineup does not yet include any phones that can access 5G on both low-band and mmWave frequencies. Neither 5G service should be confused with "5Ge", which is merely AT&T's branding for the fastest type of 4G LTE. AT&T has also confirmed that its next 5G launch cities will include Boston, Bridgeport, CT, Buffalo, NY, Las Vegas, Louisville, KY, and New York City. The company promises "nationwide" 5G coverage by the middle of 2020.
MediaTek has revealed that its first SoC with integrated 5G modem and high-end processor will be called the Dimensity 1000. The company revealed the first set of details on the chip in May. Now that it has a name, MediaTek has revealed additional details of the SoC. It's fabricated using the latest 7nm process and is designed for "premium and flagship" phones. The 5G modem component supports SA (stand-alone) and NSA (non-stand-alone) 5G networks, as well as DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) that allows 4G and 5G to efficiently share the same frequency band. It also supports 5G carrier aggregation, which enables downlink speeds up to 4.7 Gbps and seamless handovers as users move around. It also supports dual 5G SIMs, which MediaTek claims is a first. The processor part of the chip includes a five-core image signal processor (ISP) to power cameras up to 80 megapixel at 24fps. Its AI processor assists with camera functions, offering features like multi-frame video HDR, which MediaTek claims is another first. The chip also supports Full HD+ displays with refresh rates up to 120Hz, and 2K+ up to 90Hz. The Dimensity 1000 only supports 5G in sub-6 GHz frequency bands, not mmWave. By the end of this year, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will all offer sub-6 GHz 5G networks with broad coverage. The first devices powered by the Dimensity 1000 will ship in the US by the end of this year, which is earlier than previously announced. The new Dimensity brand will include a whole line of chips with integrated 5G.
AT&T is launching 5G for consumers in the coming weeks, and has detailed its launch plans for both sub-6 GHz (low-band) and mmWave launches in the coming year. The company promises "nationwide" 5G in the first half of 2020. AT&T is branding low-band 5G (which offers coverage similar to 4G) as "5G", and this is the service it is launching for consumers. Its mmWave service (with faster speeds but more limited coverage) will be branded "5G+", and remains limited to business customers. Neither designation should be confused with "5Ge", AT&T's misleading designation for 4G. AT&T is launching its low-band 5G in band 5 (850 MHz), which is one of the lower-frequency bands in AT&T's spectrum portfolio, offering the good long-range and in-building coverage. The launch cities for low-band 5G will be Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, RI, Rochester, NY, and San Diego. Those cities will be followed by Boston, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, New York City, San Francisco, Birmingham, AL, Bridgeport, CT, Buffalo, NY, Louisville, KY, and San Jose, CA. AT&T has published coverage maps for all of the listed launch cities. AT&T's first phone to support low-band 5G will be the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, which will only support low-band 5G and not mmWave "5G+". It will be available for pre-order on Nov. 25th. 5G service is included in AT&T's Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite plans. AT&T's mmWave "5G+" service for business customers is currently offered in parts of 21 cities, expanding to 30 in "early 2020".
The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G will be the first phone to support sub-6 GHz FDD 5G for T-Mobile and AT&T. However, the AT&T and T-Mobile versions will not support mmWave 5G that offers faster speeds in central areas of major cities, even though the Verizon version will support only mmWave 5G. T-Mobile and AT&T spokespeople have confirmed to Phone Scoop that their versions will not support mmWave. Sub-6 GHz FDD bands (low-band) are the same bands used for 4G service today, and offer broad coverage that mmWave frequencies cannot. T-Mobile and AT&T have announced plans to launch 5G on sub-6 GHz FDD bands later this year. Verizon will be first to sell the Note10+ 5G on August 23rd. Verizon will have an undisclosed period of exclusivity, after which AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will also offer it. Verizon will charge $1300 for the 256 GB model, available in black, white, or a prismatic "Aura Glow", and $1400 for the 512 GB version, available in black. The 5G and 4G versions of the Note10+ are identical in appearance, size, and features. The only difference is a 2 gram weight difference to account for the 5G components. The Note10 series includes Play Galaxy Link, which lets you stream games from your home PC to your phone, a feature that will benefit greatly from the data speeds and low latency offered by 5G.
AT&T's mmWave 5G network is now live in parts of NYC for select business customers. AT&T did not say which parts of the city are covered, but did say "While our initial availability in NYC is a limited introduction at launch, we'e committed to working closely with the City to extend coverage to more neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs." NYC joins a list of 20 other US cites with AT&T 5G. The company plans to have at least 30 cities lit up by the end of the year, and the company plans to use 5G in sub-6 GHz bands to offer "nationwide" 5G coverage in the first half of 2020. AT&T has yet to make 5G available to consumers.
Qualcomm and T-Mobile have successfully completed the first data call using Qualcomm's X55 modem, the first 5G chip for phones to support all 5G networks to be launched in the US in 2019, including T-Mobile's band 71 (600 MHz). All 5G phones currently on the market in the US use the X50 chip, which only supports mmWave bands and TDD bands such as Sprint's band 41. mmWave bands offer high speeds, but short range and poor building penetration. US carriers will only offer mmWave 5G in central areas of major cities. T-Mobile and AT&T will offer broader 5G coverage using sub-6-GHz FDD bands later this year, and the first phones in the US to support those networks will use this new X55 chip.
At today's FCC meeting, the Commission voted to approve two actions that will open up four radio frequency bands to new 5G service. Three of the bands are ultra-high mmWave frequencies near 40 GHz, while the fourth is mid-band, near 2.5 GHz. For the three mmWave bands, today's action finalized the rules for Auction 103, which will allow companies to bid on licenses for Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. Auction 103 will commence on December 10th, 2019. The 39 GHz band was first auctioned off in 2000, with some of those licenses ending up in the hands of Verizon and AT&T via sales and acquisitions. However some 39 GHz licenses remain privately-owned, but unused. Auction 103 will include an incentive auction component to facilitate the sale of those licenses to companies that will use them. The 2.5 GHz band was originally set aside for educational TV broadcast service, which never took off. Today the FCC voted to remove rules requiring the band be owned by education institutions and used for educational purposes. Existing license holders will be able to lease out the spectrum, making it available for commercial 5G. Many licenses in the band remain unsold, which the FCC will auction off, after giving priority to Tribal Nations. The 2.5 GHz band is near the band 41 that Sprint already uses for 5G service. It has better range and building penetration than mmWave bands.
AT&T has launched mmWave 5G service in Las Vegas, bringing the total number of AT&T 5G cities to 20. AT&T's 5G network is so far only available to business customers.
AT&T is launching its first 5G phone on June 17th, but only for business customers and a select group of developers. The company will offer the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G to customers on the new AT&T Business Unlimited Preferred plan, which includes 5G service. For a limited time, businesses can order the Galaxy S10 5G with 256 GB of storage through their AT&T account representatives for the discounted price of $1,000. The phone can access AT&T's mmWave 5G network, which is available today in "very limited parts" of 19 cities, with plans to reach parts of at least 30 cities. The phone cannot access 5G service at lower (sub-6 GHz) frequencies that AT&T has promised to launch by the end of the year. The company is also offering a group of developers a Galaxy S10 5G with free service through the end of the year.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold will be on display and available for purchase on April 26th at AT&T, T-Mobile, Best Buy, and Samsung Experience Stores. T-Mobile will start accepting online orders the night before, at midnight ET / 9pm PT. Samsung will start accepting pre-orders tomorrow, April 12th, exclusively for people who have signed up to receive Galaxy Fold updates on samsung.com. Samsung also confirmed that the Galaxy S10 5G will launch in the US in May. Verizon has previously announced that it will be the first US carrier to offer the phone, with a period of exclusivity. AT&T also recently revealed that it will offer the S10 5G in the "spring", which implies that AT&T will launch the phone in June. Samsung says pre-orders for the S10 5G will start "soon".
By the end of this year, AT&T's 5G network will use sub-6 GHz radio bands to achieve broad coverage. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G announced today won't be able to access that part of AT&T's 5G network; it can only access mmWave spectrum being launched only in dense urban areas. AT&T and Samsung are working on a second 5G phone that will be able to access the whole 5G network, to be available by the end of this year. AT&T's press release reads: "In addition to the Galaxy S10 5G, we previously announced that we're working with Samsung to make another 5G smartphone available in the second half of this year. This smartphone will be able to access 5G using sub-6 GHz spectrum broadly available later this year and nationwide in early 2020, as well as access 5G+ over mmWave in dense urban areas when available." Sprint and T-Mobile also plan to launch 5G networks in sub-6 GHz bands. Verizon has thus far only announced plans to launch 5G in mmWave bands, which cannot provide broad coverage.
The tenth edition of Samsung's Galaxy S series of flagship phones includes, for the first time, four different models spanning a range of sizes and price points. Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 series today at an event in San Francisco. In addition to the standard S10 and (larger) S10+ that mirror pervious years' offerings, Samsung also revealed a smaller, cheaper S10e, as well as the S10 5G, which is even larger than the S10+. All of the S10 models include the new, top-end Snapdragon 855 processor, Cat. 20 LTE, a new "Dynamic" AMOLED display with hole-punch design and HDR10+, and two-way wireless charging that can charge other phones or accessories. For photography, they all include the same 12-megapixel main camera as the S9 (with dual-pixel and dual-aperture technology), a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera, and a new 10-megapixel, auto-focus front camera that can record 4K video. All models keep the 3.5mm audio jack, as well as IP68 rating for water-resistance. Most S10 models (the S10e excluded) also have an ultrasonic fingerprint reader embedded in the display, a third camera on the back for telephoto shots, an Infinity Edge display that curves at the sides for thinner bezels, heart rate sensor, and a minimum of 8 GB of RAM / 128 GB built-in storage. The S10 5G also adds 3D depth cameras to both the front and back and 25W fast charging. The S10, S10e, and S10+ go on sale worldwide March 8th, with pre-orders available starting tonight at midnight Eastern time. Those models will be available in the US in Prism Black, Prism White, Prism Blue, and Flamingo Pink (which is based on Pantone's color of the year, Living Coral). Pricing will be the same unlocked and at all major US carriers: The S10e will start at $750, the S10 at $900, and the S10+ at $1,000. Variants with added memory will cost more. All four top US carriers will offer all four models. Those who pre-order the S10 or S10+ will receive a free set of Galaxy Buds fully wireless earbuds (normally $129). Samsung is also offering trade-in deals worth up to $550. The S10 5G will be available in the 2nd quarter, first with Verizon before the middle of the year, followed by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Spectrum, and Xfinity "at a later date this summer." Read on for more details.
AT&T today added Chicago and Minneapolis to its list of cities that will get a true 5G network by the end of this year. That list already includes Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. The company already has 5G available to a limited group of customers in "parts of" Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco. The company plans to launch 5G nationwide by "early 2020". This true (standards-based, mmWave) 5G network is not yet available to most consumers, and no phones have launched yet that support 5G. AT&T is currently running a misleading campaign to promote "5G E", which is actually 4G LTE. Sprint is currently taking AT&T to court over that campaign.
AT&T's marketing of a "5G E" network — which is actually 4G LTE and has nothing to do with 5G technology — now has the company in legal trouble, as Sprint is taking AT&T to court for "false advertising and deceptive acts". AT&T has been marketing "5G E" in large national ad campaigns, as well as updating existing phone software to show a "5G E" indicator for 4G LTE service. Sprint is seeking an injunction to stop these actions, as well as damages caused by the success of AT&T's campaign. According to Sprint, "AT&T’s deceptive ads have harmed consumers by persuading them to purchase or continue purchasing AT&T’s services based on the lie that they are offering 5G." Sprint made its filing in a United States federal court in New York, based on a combination of federal and New York state laws.
AT&T plans to change the indicator in the status bar of some Android phones from "LTE" to "5G E" in select markets. Specifically, this logo will appear in cities and towns that have been upgraded to AT&T's 5G Evolution technology, which is not 5G at all. Instead, the phones will be connecting to faster 4G LTE that relies on 4x4 MIMO, LAA, 256 QAM, and other LTE-based technologies. What AT&T calls 5G Evolution will be up and running in more than 400 markets by the end of the year. It is in these markets that Android device owners will see the logo change. The change arrives just as AT&T launches its mobile 5G network. The only device that can access the nascent 5G network is a mobile hotspot. AT&T isn't expected to offer a 5G phone until February or March. That 5G service will appear as "5G+" once it arrives. AT&T's planned "5G E" change is likely to mislead some consumers into believing they are connecting to 5G service when in fact they are not.
AT&T said its mobile 5G service is live starting today in a handful of markets. This makes it the first major U.S. carrier to launch 5G. AT&T is branding the service AT&T 5G+. It relies on the 5G NR standard and makes use of AT&T's mmWave spectrum. The service is being offered in parts of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco. AT&T didn't say exactly where in these markets 5G is available. The company plans to expand to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose during the first half of next year. The first device to provide access to AT&T's 5G service is the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. It goes on sale December 21. Select early adopters will be able to grab the Nighthawk with mobile 5G service at no cost for three months. The device will be more widely available in the spring for $499. AT&T says its data-only 5G service will start at $70 per month for 15 GB. AT&T expects to have at least one 5G phone reach the market during the first half of the year with a second to follow before the end of 2019. This second device will include both mmWave and sub-6 GHz 5G spectrum. AT&T hasn't priced out phone-based 5G service yet, but says it expects 5G service will be "broadly available" by late 2019 with nationwide coverage to follow in early 2020.
AT&T today said it plans to release a second 5G smartphone during the latter half of 2019. Samsung will make this new device for AT&T and, unlike the first 5G phone from AT&T, this second one will support 5G in both mmWave and sub-6 GHz bands. AT&T says it is still on track to launch mmWave mobile 5G before the end of 2018. It has been installing software upgradeable sub-6 GHz radios throughout 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019. AT&T didn't say when it intends to light up sub-6 GHz spectrum with 5G service. AT&T's mobile 5G network will only be available in a handful of cities to start and will grow over time.
AT&T today said it plans to sell a 5G smartphone from Samsung during the first half of 2019. The device is likely similar to, if not the same as, the mobile 5G device that Verizon recently said it will sell next year. The 5G phone from Samsung will join the 5G mobile hotspot already announced by AT&T. AT&T expects to sell the hotspot before the end of 2018. The company says it has installed mobile 5G network equipment in the 12 markets where it plans to kick off 5G this year. Those cities include Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco. AT&T will expand its 5G service during the first half of 2019 to parts of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. AT&T is working with Samsung on what it calls a "manufacturing-focused 5G Innovation Zone." This testing ground will explore how robotic manufacturing can be improved with 5G.
AT&T today claims that it recently browsed the web using standards-compliant mobile 5G NR mmWave gear. The real-world test took place in Waco, Texas, and included Ericsson networking equipment together with AT&T's forthcoming Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. The company connected the 5G hotspot via mmWave to its network and successfully browsed the web on what will eventually be a commercially available device. The Nighthawk relies on the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem and will serve as AT&T's very first 5G product. AT&T reiterated that it is on target to launch mobile 5G in 12 markets this year with 19 more to follow in early 2019.
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.
AT&T today said it has launched what it calls 5G Evolution in 99 new markets, bringing the total of pre-5G markets to 239. AT&T is on track to reach its goal of 400 markets by the end of the year, and nationwide coverage during the first half of 2019. The company says its 5G Evolution technology — which is not 5G NR — can deliver theoretical speeds up to 400 Mbps to properly equipped phones. AT&T expects to launch true 5G mobile service in a dozen markets by the end of the year, with another seven joining the list in early 2019. Further, AT&T has expanded its LTE-LAA footprint to parts of 20 markets and expects to reach 24 by December. LTE-LAA can push speeds to a theoretical max of 1 Gbps. A handful of phones sold by AT&T are LTE-LAA capable, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S8+, S9+, Note8, Note9, and S8 Active, as well as the LG V30 and V35, the Motorola Moto Z2 Force Edition, and the Netgear Nighthawk Mobile Router. AT&T's first real 5G NR mobile device will be a mobile hotspot.
The FCC is stripping power away from state and local governments in order to facilitate the installment of 5G infrastructure. This week the agency moved forward on an earlier proposal that sets limits on fees municipalities can charge for cell site applications, as well as the timeframe in which those applications need to be approved. Carriers must apply locally within towns, cities, and states to install new cell sites. Local governments can impede progress by denying permission to put up new sites for any number of reasons, as well as charge fees. Since 5G requires more cells in more locations, the FCC believes the process needs to change. To start, the FCC is setting limits on the fees that can be charged by municipalities for applications, processing the applications, and adjusting the right-of-way around such sites. The FCC is mandating that local governments charge no more than is reasonable. The FCC has also shortened the shot clocks afforded to local governments to weigh such applications. For example, new equipment that is to be added to existing cell sites will have a 60-day shot clock, and entirely new cell sites will have a 90-day shot clock. Local governments that charge onerous fees or sit on applications past the new 60- and 90-day windows will be presumed to be denying the applications and will need to have legitimate reasons prepared. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are all in various stages of building their 5G networks. This step by the FCC helps these companies at the expense of local governmental control. Earlier this year, the FCC made similar changes at the federal level.
Don't expect to be able to use the same phone across 5G networks, at least in the early days, says AT&T. "It's not because there isn't a desire and we don't want to," explained Gordon Mansfield, AT&T's VP of radio networks and device design, to PCMag. Technical challenges are the roadblock that will prevent 5G roaming from the onset. Specifically, phones won't be able to contain the 28 GHz 5G radio used by Verizon and T-Mobile, and the 39 GHz 5G radio used by AT&T in a single device. This means the first 5G phones will likely be carrier exclusives. The same story played out when LTE 4G first launched, as network operators used disparate bands for their high-speed service. It wasn't until 4G radios began to support multiple bands that LTE roaming became a reality. Mansfield believes this scenario won't last too long with 5G. "As an industry, that will be very quickly overcome; I don't think the single band introduction from the millimeter-wave point of view will last very long," he said. AT&T's first 5G device, expected before the end of the year, will be a puck-style mobile hotspot. The carrier hasn't said when it will go on sale, nor how much it will cost. The company is also preparing 5G-enabled smartphones, though those aren't expected to reach the market until 2019.
AT&T today announced that it plans to roll out mobile 5G service in parts of Houston, Jacksonville, Louisville, New Orleans, and San Antonio by the end of this year. The company previously announced plans to bring 5G to Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Raleigh, and Waco this year. Early next year, the company's mobile 5G network will expand to parts of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. The company reached a milestone over this past weekend when it made its first 5G mobile data connection "in the wild" over millimeter wave frequencies, using a Qualcomm smartphone-form-factor test device and Ericsson 5G-NR tower equipment. The test, and AT&T's planned rollout, are compliant with the 3GPP Release 15 global 5G NR standard.
The FCC wants to ensure that wireless companies don't hit any unnecessary hurdles thrown in the way by state or local governments as they build out their 5G networks. As it works today, carriers typically have to apply locally within towns, cities, and states to install new cell sites. Local government can impede progress by denying permission to put up new sites for any number of reasons. Since future 5G will require more cells in more locations, the FCC believes the process needs to change. A new Declaratory Ruling and Report and Order seeks to establish new guidelines. For example, the FCC wants to set limits on the fees that can be charged by municipalities for applications, processing the applications, and adjusting the right-of-way around such sites. The FCC also wants to shorten the shot clocks afforded to local governments to weigh such applications. For example, it wants to see a 60-day approval window when carriers seek to adjust an existing cell site and a 90-day window for installing new cell sites. The Order will codify the existing 90 and 150 day shot clocks for larger wireless facility deployments. Local governments that don't comply with the new clocks will be presumed to be denying the applications and will need to have legit reasons prepared. "This is part of a national strategy to promote the timely buildout of this new infrastructure across the country by eliminating regulatory impediments that unnecessarily add delays and costs to bringing advanced wireless services to the public," argued the FCC. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wirless are all in various stages of building their 5G networks.
AT&T today added Indianapolis to its list of 5G mobile launch markets. AT&T expects to kick off 5G service in more than a dozen markets, including Dallas and Waco, Texas, and Atlanta, Ga., and others by the end of the year. Indianapolis already enjoys LTE-LAA, which is available in more than a dozen other markets. LTE-LAA can push speeds to theoretical a max of 1 Gbps. AT&T hopes to have LTE-LAA up and running in 24 markets by the end of the year. AT&T hasn't said exactly when it will launch 5G mobile service other than to say before the end of the year.
Sprint today announced that together with LG it will bring its first 5G mobile phone to market during the first half of 2019. Sprint said the "innovative handset" is being "built for the country's first mobile 5G network." Sprint claims its forthcoming 5G network will allow customers to download full-length HD movies in seconds instead of minutes, and stream graphic-heavy videos and games without delays or lag-time. Specifics concerning the device were not provided. Sprint plans to launch its 5G mobile network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. Sprint says more 5G devices are in development and will be announced over time. All the major carriers are rushing to be first to launch 5G. AT&T expects to offer a 5G mobile hotspot by the end of the year, while Verizon Wireless and Motorola will offer a 5G Moto Mod to the recently-announced Moto Z3 smartphone early next year.
Verizon Wireless today said that Houston will join Los Angeles and Sacramento as one of its launch markets for 5G. This particular deployment will be fixed residential 5G broadband service. Verizon is testing a number of different technologies for its forthcoming 5G network, including millimeter wave. Verizon and its carrier competitors are all racing to be first to deploy 5G, with AT&T and T-Mobile also targeting late 2018 launches. Initial rollouts will include fixed broadband service, with mobile service to follow. Qualcomm recently announced new wireless antennas that make mobile 5G a possibility on phones. Phones with 5G may reach the market as soon as the first half of 2019. AT&T has gone on the record saying its first mobile 5G device with be a puck, or mobile hotspot.
AT&T today added Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. and Oklahoma City to its list of 5G launch markets. AT&T expects to kick off 5G service in more than a dozen markets, including Dallas and Waco, Texas, and Atlanta, Ga., by the end of the year. Further, AT&T has expanded its LTE-LAA footprint from seven markets to parts of 15 markets. LTE-LAA can push speeds to theoretical a max of 1 Gbps. The new LTE-LAA markets are Austin, Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, San Antonio, San Jose, Tampa, and Tuscaloosa, Ala. AT&T hopes to have LTE-LAA up and running in 24 markets by the end of the year. Last, AT&T says its baseline 5G Evolution technology is now live in more than 140 markets, and is on track to reach more than 400 markets this year. The company says its 5G Evolution technology — which is not 5G — can deliver theoretical speeds up to 400 Mbps to properly equipped phones.
OnePlus hopes to distribute its phones through carriers in the U.S., reports PCMag. OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau told PCMag that the company is holding discussions with U.S. carriers, though it didn't specify which ones. Moreover, the company plans to release a 5G phone next year, which will coincide with the expected launch of 5G service in the U.S. For the moment, OnePlus sells its phones unlocked on the open market. Its most recent device, the OnePlus 6, includes support for AT&T and T-Mobile. OnePlus said its good working relationship with Qualcomm has helped pave its path towards 5G.
The 3GPP today ratified another piece of the 5G specification, termed the Standalone 5G New Radio, or SA 5G NR. This spec is for 5G networks that are developed on their own, apart from legacy or pre-existing networks. The Non-Standalone portion of the 5G spec was ratified late last year and covers 5G that hooks into existing LTE 4G systems. "The freeze of Standalone 5G NR radio specifications represents a major milestone in the quest of the wireless industry towards realizing the holistic 5G vision," said BalÃ¡zs BertÃ©nyi, chairman of 3GPP RAN. "5G NR Standalone systems not only dramatically increase the mobile broadband speeds and capacity, but also open the door for new industries beyond telecommunications that are looking to revolutionize their ecosystem through 5G." The SA 5G NR and the NSA 5G NR standards will together include the technology used by commercial entities, the air interface, and end users. The spec was approved by more than 600 delegates from the world's leading carrier, handset, and silicon vendors. Some participants included AT&T, DISH, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Kyocera, LG, MediaTek, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, SoftBank/Sprint, Sony, Verizon, Xiaomi, and ZTE. The 3GPP said the technical specifications for the ratified SA 5G NR will be published in the days ahead.
Qualcomm today announced the FSM100xx, a 5G NR product designed for small cells and remote radio heads. Qualcomm says the FSM100xx builds on its existing Qualcomm FSM Platform for 3G and 4G small cells. It supports 5G NR in sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum, allowing network operators to make use of whatever spectrum is available to them in a given location. Qualcomm designed the FSM Platform for flexibility. It is based on 10nm mobile technologies for controlling power consumption while allowing for fast performance. Qualcomm says the FSM100xx can address the propagation characteristics of mmWave spectrum in real time, particularly in indoor spaces where small cells are most often deployed. Further, it supports MIMO and multi-gigabit throughout, as well as power-over-ethernet for broader outdoor deployments. Last, the FSM100xx includes a software-defined modem, which gives carriers the flexibility to control and update their hardware when needed to comply with future 3GPP releases of the 5G NR spec. Qualcomm says it expects the FSM100xx to begin sampling in 2019. Meanwhile, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all claim they will launch 5G in select markets by the end of 2018.
AT&T today said it has launched what it calls 5G Evolution in 117 new markets, bringing the total of pre-5G markets to 141. The company says its 5G Evolution technology can deliver theoretical speeds up to 400 Mbps to properly equipped phones. AT&T expects to launch 5G service in in a dozen markets, including Dallas and Waco, Texas, and Atlanta, Ga., by the end of the year. Further, AT&T has expanded its LTE-LAA footprint from three markets to parts of seven markets. LTE-LAA can push speeds to theoretical a max of 1 Gbps. The new LTE-LAA markets are Boston, Sacramento and McAllen, Texas. A handful of phones sold by AT&T are LTE-LAA capable, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S8+, S9+, Note8, and S8 Active, as well as the LG V30 and Moto Z2 Force Edition. AT&T's LTE-LAA is already available in The Loop in Chicago, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, downtown LA, and the business district of San Francisco. AT&T plans to deploy LTE-LAA in at least 24 markets by the end of the year.
AT&T today said Dallas and Waco, Texas, and Atlanta will be its first three mobile 5G markets and it plans to launch before the end of the year. AT&T has more markets prepped for mobile 5G and will name them later. AT&T said it will offer 5G based on the current 3GPP 5G NR spec, which has yet to be fully finalized. The company will use mmWave spectrum, though it didn’t specify which bands. AT&T expects to offer a puck-style mobile hotspot as its first 5G device and will bring 5G-capable phones to market in early 2019. As part of its 5G rollout, AT&T is relying on software-defined network (SDN) technology. It expects to rely on SDN on as much as 75% of its network by 2020. AT&T says its mobile 5G service will eventually deliver multi-gigabit-per-second speeds and incredibly low latency. In the meantime, AT&T has expanded the reach of its LTE-LAA technology, which is available in Indianapolis, Los Angelas, Chicago, and San Francisco. AT&T and competitors Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are racing to be the first to deploy 5G and all have adopted aggressive rollout schedules.
AT&T today said it has finalized its acquisition of FiberTower and in the process gained a foothold in the spectrum needed to deploy 5G. Specifically, AT&T now owns 375 MHz of 39 GHz spectrum in the top 100 markets around the country. AT&T said it paid $207 million for FiberTower. The deal was approved by the FCC earlier this week, though Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said the matter was settled without all five commissioners participating in the vote. She accused FCC Chairmain Ajit Pai of ignoring her petition to have all the commissioners present. Clyburn suggests the deal was given the thumbs-up without fully vetting how much spectrum AT&T owns or will own in each market, and whether or not its spectrum holdings will result in harm to consumers. AT&T expects to debut 5G service on a “puck” by the end of the year.