With the hype surrounding 5G steadily building, AT&T CEO John Donovan earlier today confirmed that AT&T is planning to launch its mobile 5G network before the end of the year.
“AT&T is on track to be the first wireless carrier to introduce mobile 5G services in the United States in the next few weeks,” Donovan said during an earnings conference call. “This will be standards-based 5G.”
Not surprisingly, nationwide support for 5G isn’t going to happen overnight. On the contrary, AT&T’s initial 5G rollout will only encompass 12 cities by the end of the year, a list which includes Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco. Naturally, AT&T has plans to expand its 5G coverage to a larger selection of cities in the coming months and eventually have a nationwide footprint. Precise details regarding the timeline of AT&T’s planned 5G roll out, however, remain murky at this point.
In remarks picked up by FierceWireless, Donovan added that AT&T is also planning on enhancing its LTE network:
Further, Donovan said that the operator’s mobile 5G service will sit alongside the company’s existing LTE network, which is also undergoing significant upgrades. AT&T has branded its LTE network upgrades as “5G Evolution,” and Donovan said the upgrades to LTE will be in place in 400 markets by the end of this year and nationwide by the middle of next year. He said those upgrades will support peak LTE speeds of 400 Mbps, in part through the application of LTE LAA technology, which he said would be launched in “parts” of two dozen cities by the end of this year.
Returning to AT&T’s 5G network for a second, you can’t exactly pick up a 5G phone just yet, so AT&Ts’ announcement won’t have much of an impact on end users for quite some time. Still, AT&T is planning to release a 5G-capable mobile hotspot for users looking to enjoy 5G speeds on their tablet or laptop.