AT&T: our first 5G devices won't be phones, but 'pucks'
AT&T was way early with its 5G network trials back in 2016, and is planning to launch a commercial 5G service this year in 12 markets across the US. Don't expect to lift up your fall season iPhone or Galaxy, and make a call over the 5G ether, or download a movie in seconds, though.
AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson clarified in the conference call to investors while discussing the carrier's quarterly results, that the first 5G devices will be "pucks," or mobile wireless routers of sorts, rather than phones. The 4G LTE rollout started in a similar manner a few years ago, when carriers provided pucks and dongles for laptops, rather than 4G phones, and this time won't be different, it seems.
Wireless modems that are small and frugal enough to be put in handsets are already announced by the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei or ZTE, but their mass market application won't happen until early next year, when ZTE promised to release a "5G-ready handset" so the earliest popular phone with 5G connectivity may not come until Galaxy S10 rolls off the conveyor belts.