Latest update: July 8th, 2020. Consumers and businesses can now access AT&T’s 5G network using the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, the Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup and the LG V60 ThinQ 5G.
AT&T has been one of the most controversial carriers when it comes to the launch of a 5G network in the United States. And the reason for that lies in the way the company started it all: with a an improved 4G service that AT&T called "5G Evolution"
, a misleading term. The 5GE logo showed up on people's phones in early 2019 causing a bit of confusion, so to clear things up, this was definitely not 5G in any common terms. In fact, in some places, that 5G E network had slower speeds than a traditional 4G LTE network.
AT&T 5G+ (true 5G) coverage in early 2020
This mis-step aside, at the end of 2018, AT&T started to roll out a true 5G network across the nation using mostly millimeter wave (mmWave) technology like its competitor Verizon Wireless. mmWave uses high-frequency signaling to deliver incredible speeds, but at the cost of coverage as the signal cannot travel far and cannot penetrate buildings. Executives from the competitors have made fun of such networks calling them "hotspot 5G", referring to the scant coverage for those networks and mentioning that even closing a door might mean you stop getting coverage. To deal with that, carriers like AT&T will be installing a lot of base stations across major cities in the US and you can take a look at the current coverage below.
|Uses 4G LTE technology with some improvements. Not a true 5G network.||Sub-6GHz 5G network that will eventually cover the whole nation.||mmWave network that will provide record-breaking speeds at select locations like stadiums and dense urban spots.|
But first, let's take a look at AT&T's grand plan for 5G...
AT&T's Grand 5G Roll-Out Plan
Like most carriers in the US, AT&T started with very few 5G phones on offer, but quickly expanded its lineup.
AT&T currently uses two names to refer to its "true" 5G network: one is simply 5G, referring to the sub-6GHz network roll-out, and the other is 5G+, referring to mmWave spectrum that will provide ground-breaking speeds in only a few select locations.
In 2020, the carrier is rolling out small cells that will deliver service using the 39GHz (mmWave) band, also referred to as band n260. Coverage is also being deployed on lower frequency spectrum that will penetrate across a far wider area. It is important to know about this difference since mmWave signal will be limited to “pockets of dense areas” within cities, or simply said, it will be available in only very small spots in venues like stadiums and crowded downtown areas, but definitely not everywhere.
AT&T 5G+ Cities and Coverage
These are the cities where you currently have true 5G coverage by AT&T:
- AZ: Phoenix
- CA: Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Oakland, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, West Hollywood
- FL: Jacksonville, Miami, Miami Gardens, Orlando
- GA: Atlanta
- IN: Indianapolis
- KY: Louisville
- LA: New Orleans
- MD: Baltimore, Ocean City
- MI: Detroit
- NC: Charlotte, Raleigh
- NV: Las Vegas
- NY: New York City
- OH: Cleveland
- OK: Oklahoma City
- PA: King of Prussia, Philadelphia
- TN: Nashville
- TX: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Waco
Keep in mind that AT&T is actively developing the network and will be launching a lot of new markets throughout 2020, and we will be updating this article continuously.