AT&T became the second of the nationwide carriers to offer nationwide 5G, joining T-Mobile.
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have been rolling out 5G across the nation. T-Mobile was the first to roll out nationwide 5G, using their 600 MHz, low-band spectrum. Low-band 5G offers marginally faster speeds than 4G, but excellent range and building penetration. Verizon has been focusing on high-band mmWave 5G. This variety is the fastest, but is only suitable for cities and densely populated areas because of its short range and poor penetration.
While T-Mobile and AT&T are also rolling out mmWave in cities, both companies have been focusing on low-band 5G deployments, covering far more of the population.
“Just as our lives have shifted in the past few months, so has our expectation of wireless technology,” said Jeff McElfresh, CEO of AT&T Communications. “With AT&T 5G reaching nationwide, our network is beginning the journey to transform connectivity as we know it by setting a new bar of breathtaking experiences and improved efficiency. Businesses, developers and consumers are already tapping into 5G’s potential and we’re thrilled for customers across the U.S. to experience it for themselves. It’s an exciting time in technology.”
AT&T’s announcement will only increase pressure on Verizon, the one company that doesn’t have enough low-band spectrum to roll out a standalone, nationwide 5G network. Instead, Verizon is planning to use dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) to share the same spectrum between 4G and 5G. In the meantime, a recent report by OpenSignal showed that Verizon’s 5G network is only available 0.4% of the time.
AT&T’s announcement is good news for its customers, and will help ensure the carrier can meet demand as 5G gains widespread adoption.