- AT&T named the final five cities that will see the company’s mobile 5G before the end of 2018: Houston; Jacksonville, FL; Louisville, KY; New Orleans; and San Antonio. The company also said it plans to launch in seven more cities — Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; San Diego; San Francisco; and San Jose, CA — in early 2019.
- The company also made the world’s first wireless 5G data transfer over millimeter wave with standards-based production equipment on a mobile form factor device.
- The five new cities join the seven that have already been announced as getting AT&T 5G in 2018: Atlanta; Charlotte, NC; Dallas; Indianapolis; Oklahoma City; Raleigh, NC; and Waco, TX.
AT&T is making millimeter wave a focus of its 5G strategy to get better service in dense, urban areas where demand is already stretched. That makes the data transfer test significant — it shows that the carrier is moving ahead on the technology that would allow it to offer data beyond its spectrum holdings. The company is using Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung as its hardware suppliers, and said it has already started deploying infrastructure.
"We’re at the dawn of something new that will define the next decade and generation of connectivity,” said AT&T chief technology officer Andre Fuetsch in a statement. “Future smart factories and retailers, self-driving cars, untethered virtual and augmented realities, and other yet to be discovered experiences will grow up on tomorrow’s 5G networks.”
A key part of AT&T’s launch strategy has also been to get into mid-sized cities in addition to large markets like Atlanta and Houston. In announcing Charlotte, Raleigh and Oklahoma City as 5G cities, AT&T said it was looking to “avoid a new digital divide” by getting new technology in smaller cities. The mix in the latest announcement continues that trend, although AT&T notes that it will launch in “parts” of the cities, leaving open the possibility that neighborhoods already lacking connections could miss out on the initial 5G launch.
Other competitors are racing to get 5G to market before the end of the year. Verizon has named four cities that will get 5G, while Sprint and T-Mobile plan to launch in 30 cities this year following their merger. That partnership could take longer than the two companies had hoped, however, after the Federal Communications Commission said it needed more time to review the application.