5G has been talked about for a couple of years now, so naturally, you might be wondering where in the world it is? Telecom providers are hard at work rolling out infrastructure for 5G frequencies nationwide, but there are only parts of select cities where the new network is available. And we’re talking big meter areas, like New York City, San Francisco, etc.
Still, with how long it’s been talked about, and with it starting to get advertised extensively, you might be wondering where it is and when it’s coming. So if you’re not sure what in the world is going on with 5G, and when it will get here, follow along below, and we’ll hopefully help you understand all of the back, and forth that’s going on!
AT&T 5G Plans
Unfortunately, you can’t use AT&T 5G without a 5G-capable plan. Luckily, AT&T launched these style plans earlier in 2023. These plans will set you back about $70 per month on a 15GB per month data cap. It might be a little on the confusing side, but AT&T is actually branding their plans as 5G+.
On top of offering mobile 5G data plans, AT&T is opening the Internet up for laptops and computers as well, but through a mobile hotspot. You’ll have to pick up the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot directly from AT&T, which sets you back around $499. The good news is that there’s no annual commitment so that you can turn off your plan at any point.
AT&T 5G devices
On top of a 5G plan, you’ll need a 5G-capable device to connect up to a 5G network. Thee are a handful of options available right now, such as from LG, but the best that you can pick up, for the time being, is the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. The downside is that 5G models increase prices quite a bit, but it’s the way that we’re slowly moving.
Where is AT&T 5G available right now?
AT&T is working on a nationwide rollout of 5G, but for the time being, the actual 5G service is only available in parts of the following cities:
- Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose
- Jacksonville, Orlando
- New Orleans
- Charlotte, Raleigh
- Oklahoma City
- Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Waco
When will we get AT&T nationwide 5G?
AT&T expects to go live with nationwide 5G by early 2020 — around the time that they think they’ll be in their lower band spectrum. That said, 5G should be available to over 200 million people around that point. However, a full, true nationwide rollout is going to take much longer than that. There are many rural areas and smaller towns that won’t have access to it for much longer.
Again, this is mostly due to regulatory constraints that cities and communities put out — many communities don’t want 5G equipment on utility poles and street lights. On top of that, since 5G has a much smaller signal radius, it takes a lot more cells for AT&T to provide a similar signal as LTE. That said, rural areas especially take much more time.
As far as an actual date goes, nationwide is aimed for 200 million people in early 2020, but you should see more areas and communities lit up with 5G over the coming years.
How fast will AT&T 5G be?
As you already know, 5G is supposed to be blazing fast. Faster than even 4G LTE, and with substantially better latency. That said, to be better than LTE, 5G has to meet some current network requirements from regulators. 5G has to support a minimum peak download speed, according to regulators. Standards are set for 2.5 GB/s (gigabytes per second). Actual regulations might call for 20 Gb per second, but this is actually in gigabits, not gigabytes. Dividing it into speeds that you’ll see every day, the standard is actually the 2.5 gigabytes, as mentioned above per second.
Despite that being what regulators call for, download speeds are actually going to be substantially lower than that. 5G equipment has to handle millions of devices on a single block or cell, so while 5G will support that peak download speed, you’re going to have to share it with millions of other devices. That said, you’re actually going to be looking at megabytes per second, which are still going to be quicker than your average LTE speeds.
As you can see, even a big telecom provider like AT&T is having difficulty rolling out 5G infrastructure nationwide. It’s an uphill battle, and with also having to fight with regulators and community ordinances, you can understand why it’s taking so long.
Are you looking forward to the new 5G technology? Let us know what you’re looking forward to most about it, and if you’ve gotten to use it yet!