AT&T announced on Tuesday that its first 5G mobile service is available starting today in select areas of 12 U.S. cities.
The telecom giant said in a press release that it will be the first and only company to offer a “mobile 5G device over a commercial, standards-based mobile 5G network” on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018.
“This is the first taste of the mobile 5G era,” said Andre Fuetsch, AT&T’s chief technology officer and president of AT&T Labs.
Cities with AT&T 5G
In preparation for Friday, AT&T said it has officially launched its 5G mobile network in certain areas of 12 cities across the U.S.
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Houston, Texas
- Dallas, Texas
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Raleigh, North Carolina,
- San Antonio, Texas
- Waco, Texas
How Can I Get AT&T 5G?
Again, this isn’t citywide 5G service. AT&T said it focuses on launching small networks in dense urban areas — where 5G works best.
And you’ll need a compatible device to actually access those networks. The “mobile 5G device” that AT&T mentioned in is the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot, which early adopters will be able to pick up once they sign up for the early 5G service.
Initially, AT&T said it will offer the Netgear to “select businesses and consumers” with free 5G data for “at least” 90 days. When 5G begins rolling out next year, customers will need to buy the Nighthawk for $499. Once they do, each 15GB allotment of 5G data will cost $70 a month.
In addition to the 5G launch in the aforementioned cities, AT&T said that the next-generation mobile networks are coming to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose early next year.
To use AT&T’s 5G networks without a mobile hotspot, you’ll need a compatible smartphone or another compatible device. The first batch of 5G Android smartphones aren’t slated to hit the market until next year — and Apple’s first 5G iPhone will likely be unavailable until 2020.
But it’s important to note this isn’t the first 5G network rollout. In a new statement, Kevin King, a Verizon spokesperson, said: “Welcome to the 5G party, begun by Verizon on October 1, 2018”.
Of course, much of the buzz around 5G is marketing hype. The vast majority of consumers won’t be able to access actual 5G for at least a few years.