Like the other major wireless networks in the United States, 5G is the next major milestone that needs to be reached, and as quickly as possible. AT&T has now reached the big one: nationwide coverage.
AT&T announced today that its 5G network is now available nationwide, meaning the rollout of its next major network upgrade has been complete. AT&T is utilizing both sub-6GHz (what AT&T is calling 5G) and mmWave (what AT&T is referring to as “5G+”) technologies, with the latter only available in select markets across the United States. So this announcement is basically AT&T confirming its plans from back in January of 2019, when it said it would complete the rollout of its low-band 5G network across the U.S. before the end of 2020.
With the nationwide rollout now complete, the Big Blue network’s 5G is available in 395 markets, and it covers 205 million people. However, there’s a catch.
Access to that 5G coverage isn’t quite available for the majority of those customers. AT&T also confirmed today that subscribers on its Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra, and Unlimited Elite plans, along with business customers using the Unlimited Web-Only, Starter, Performance, and Elite plans will be able to access 5G coverage beginning Friday, August 7, 2020. These customers will be able to access the 5G network at no additional cost.
Meanwhile, prepaid customers can upgrade their phone to support 5G with the prepaid Unlimited Plus plan.
So, AT&T’s sub-6GHz 5G technology will be widely available across the United States, while the faster mmWave 5G technology will only be available in select cities. For instance, the faster mmWave technology will be available in the Phoenix, Arizona, metro area, along with cities like Atlanta, Georgia; Louisville, Kentucky; Detroit, Michigan, and so on. AT&T will continue to rollout support for mmWave 5G technology through the months ahead.
This is good news for AT&T customers who want to use 5G, even if they might not be in an area where the faster mmWave technology is supported. Of course, the potential bad news is that we might be faced with a delay for Apple’s oft-rumored 5G iPhone 12 lineup later this year, with new expectations that the handsets might not launch until November.
Are you planning on upgrading to a 5G phone this year?