- AT&T named Charlotte, NC; Raleigh, NC and Oklahoma City as three more locations where it will roll out its 5G network this year.
- In a release, AT&T said it was deliberately targeting a mix of large and mid-sized cities, saying "all Americans should have access to next-gen connectivity to avoid a new digital divide."
- The three new cities join the previously announced markets of Dallas, Atlanta, and Waco, TX. AT&T has promised to launch in 12 cities before the end of the year.
AT&T has been moving aggressively to tout its 5G development. Last month the company announced tests of fixed wireless in South Bend, IN, following previous trials in Waco and Kalamazoo, MI. The company has also released its "5G Evolution" technology in 117 markets in 24 states and Puerto Rico, which it says will facilitate a faster rollout of the high-speed network, although critics have said the “evolution” network is just a marketing ploy.
Carriers are racing to become the market leaders in 5G, which will not only offer faster speeds for consumers but also help smart cities roll out networks for connected infrastructure, smart grids and autonomous vehicles. Verizon has said it will debut 5G in some cities before the end of the year, and Sprint has announced nine cities — including New York City, Kansas City, MO and Phoenix — as part of an early 2019 launch. CNX is also partnering with Knoxville, TN to deploy 5G tech through a plan that will be delivered by the end of March.
AT&T has highlighted its work in mid-sized cities over larger jurisdictions; its release even references T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray’s February comments about prioritizing dense cities to draw that distinction. "Why are we in New York and not Waco?" he said, as reported by The Verge. "Because New York matters." Successful launches in cities like Raleigh and Waco can show broader potential for 5G outside of major metropolises, a necessary step to broad nationwide deployment.