AT&T Grows Low-Band 5G Network


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AT&T said Thursday its low-band 5G network now reaches more than 200 million people. That means the telecom now meets the FCC’s definition of a nationwide network. The company made the announcement on its second-quarter earnings call last week.

AT&T joins T-Mobile, which has had a nationwide 5G network since last December when it turned on its low-band 5G service, as the only two U.S. carriers with nationwide 5G. T-Mobile’s network currently covers over 225 million people. Verizon plans to launch its own nationwide low-band 5G network later this year, according to CNET.  

To get to nationwide status, AT&T expanded its low-band network in 40 new markets, including Minneapolis, San Antonio, Houston and Jacksonville, Florida. The carrier now offers low-band 5G in 395 U.S. markets.  

AT&T has deployed millimeter-wave 5G, what it calls 5G Plus, in 35 cities around the country. 

Igal Elbaz, AT&T’s senior vice president of wireless technologies, told CNET the carrier is still expanding its millimeter-wave coverage, though the carrier hasn’t announced any targets for the number of millimeter-wave cities it hopes to cover this year. 

Verizon has said it plans to expand its millimeter-wave 5G network to 60 cities this year. AT&T is also expanding its 5G access on August 7, to include its Unlimited Starter plan. The carrier previously limited 5G only to those who paid for its two priciest unlimited plans, known as Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite. Those on Cricket, AT&T’s prepaid brand, will be able to get 5G on August 21, though they will need to have the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 5G phone. 

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