AT&T's future 5G pricing plan: the faster you go, the more you pay

AT&T's future 5G pricing plan: the faster you go, the more you pay
Verizon is currently offering mobile 5G service in two markets, Chicago and Minneapolis. Yesterday, Verizon announced 20 new markets where it will soon offer the next generation of wireless connectivity. Until May 16th, when the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G launches, the only way to access Verizon's 5G network in markets supporting the service is with the Moto Z3 with the 5G Moto Mod attached. Verizon was going to charge these 5G subscribers $10 per month over the regular cost of their 4G LTE plans. However, because Big Red's 5G network has had spotty coverage in the two markets where it is available, Verizon has decided to waive the $10 monthly charge for now.

And that brings us to AT&T, which actually launched its mobile 5G network before Verizon did. Right now it is offered in 19 markets with subscribers using the Netgear Nighthawk 5G mobile hot spot to access the service. Later this year, it will offer two 5G phones from Samsung, including the Galaxy S10 5G. The second model will support both 5G mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrum.

AT&T, like Verizon, is still feeling its way around the future of 5G. According to The Verge, CEO Randall Stephenson made some comments about 5G pricing during the carrier's earnings call last week. The executive said that 5G pricing could be based on home internet service where pricing is different depending on the speed tier chosen. This would be a huge change from the way carriers offer 4G LTE service, which is one price regardless of how fast the data is actually traveling.


5G data speeds are expected to be up to 10 times faster than 4G LTE. As a result, new businesses and services will be created thanks to the faster speeds. We also could see self-driving cars on the street, and new innovations that we can't even dream about right now. It will take a few years before 5G service in the U.S. is as widespread as 4G LTE is right now.

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12 Comments

1. mcdanielvzw

Posts: 48; Member since: Nov 10, 2016

Launching a 5g hotspot and 5g cell service is not the same thing.

2. ECPirate37

Posts: 291; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

EXACTLY! I thought the same thing. Also, I'm 100% fine with 4G. I see no benefit to 5G. I'm not a mobile phone online gamer, and I can download from my wife at 250Mbps if I do need bigger files. Usually I love the newest tech, but really see no need for this.

8. domfonusr

Posts: 1057; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

The dirty little secret, though, is that there is very little that is truly "new" about 5G New Radio: it is still OFDMA-based, like LTE 4G, and achieves its improvements through a combination of tricks that have already been employed in LTE-Advanced in various forms... massive MIMO, 256 QAM, license-assisted access, etc.... but putting all of them together at once, basically, and adding a few new tricks like new designs of specialized miniature beam-forming antennae and mmWave spectrum. The speed improvement alone is the supposed justification for calling it "5G," so it is just a change in branding, really.

3. kevv2288

Posts: 269; Member since: Jul 30, 2015

Carriers already do charge different pricing for video speeds. Most throttle video speeds unless you pay more.

4. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 997; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

AT&T gonna start charging for Mobile Data like they are a cable company, can't wait to see their Data caps for each tier

6. middlehead

Posts: 434; Member since: May 12, 2014

If it means they pull limits on usage, this is what I've wanted for a long time. Stop screwing with how much I use it, let me pick how fast I use it.

11. domfonusr

Posts: 1057; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

On Cricket, I am using a plan that gets their maximum throttled speed, 8 Mb/sec on LTE (3 Mb/sec on UMTS), for 5GB of data each month (unlimited at 128 kb/sec after using 5GB at "high speed"). I hardly ever use more than a gigabyte in any given month, and 8 Mb/sec is fast enough for all of my needs so far. I would welcome being able to pay for just the data speed that I need, especially if the data allotments went away; however, I am also content to fit in the smallest data allotment possible, as well. When I do go off on my own, I will switch to the 2GB allotment plan in order to get the best single-line price. My home internet and WiFi, though, will need to be unlimited in allotment, even if it is not as fast. I do not often stream music, videos, or movies, but rather I download them long before (hours or days) I plan on listening to or viewing them natively.

7. Plutonium239

Posts: 1144; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

I'm okay with this idea.

9. syed_itsa

Posts: 47; Member since: Feb 05, 2015

Just Give us better Coverage. Still ATT is lagging coverage most part of USA.

10. domfonusr

Posts: 1057; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

Perhaps that is true for most of the USA... mainly out west, but where I live it is definitely AT&T country. Verizon is pretty competitive in this area as well, but it has some serious gaps that only AT&T covers at this time. For example, go to Glen Rock, PA - no Verizon coverage in the "bowl" that the town sits in, there is only AT&T coverage over the whole town. As I volunteer each year to do crowd control, safety patrol, and radio communications (in cooperation with the fire police) for the Glen Rock Carolers every Christmas morning starting at midnight, I am very thankful that I have cheap access to AT&T coverage through my MVNO, Cricket.

12. Jrod99

Posts: 696; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

I can wait on this tech. LTE still good enough for my needs.

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