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Wireless carriers are in a race to roll out their 5G networks, especially with Apple’s big 5G-enabled iPhone 12 announcement expected later this year. Like its competitors, AT&T is on a furious pace adding another 137 markets to its existing footprint.
AT&T announced that it is firing up the company’s low-band 5G network in 137 markets across the US, including cities in rural states like Maine, populated states like California, and even in remote states like Alaska.
This expansion brings AT&T’s low-band 5G network to 327 markets from coast to coast. See the full list of new markets on the next page, here.
AT&T’s low-band 5G operates on the 850Mhz spectrum and is different from the company’s mmWave 5G, which uses ultra-high-band frequencies.
This low-band 5G offers average speeds of 133 Mbps, which is faster than the carrier’s existing 4G LTE network but is not as fast as mmWave.
Because it operates at a lower frequency, low-band 5G can cover a wider area and is suitable for more rural areas where tower density is low.
mmWave has a much smaller footprint and is being rolled out in dense urban areas where closely installed towers can provide ample coverage.
5G is slated to replace 4G LTE and both carriers and cell phone manufacturers are supporting the wireless technology.
Critics were disappointed Apple didn’t debut 5G last year in the iPhone 11, but it wasn’t surprising that Apple stayed with 4G LTE and did not jump on the 5G bandwagon. Last year, 5G connectivity was relatively sparse, and not many phones were compatible with the latest in wireless technology.
One year later and 5G wireless networks are spreading like wildfire both in the US and globally.
Last year, 5G was optional; but this year, it is critical that Apple adds 5G support to its iPhone, or it will risk losing market share to its Android counterparts.
Apple likely will unveil the iPhone 12 this fall with support for low-band 5G, its first phone with compatibility for this wireless standard.
The company is rumored to be supporting low-band 5G first. Apple’s first mmWave iPhones may not land until 2021.