The rollout of next-gen 5G speeds is underway in the United States, with the biggest networks turning on in some of the major cities ahead of the influx of 5G capable handsets.
But what of the US network AT&T? The company muddied the waters somewhat earlier this year by pushing out ‘5G Evolution’ speeds with iPhone customers seeing ‘5G E’ in the status bar of their handsets following an iOS update. That’s despite the latest iPhones not being 5G ready yet.
AT&T claimed in marketing materials that the speeds were the “first step on the road to 5G” and offered “up to 2x faster than standard LTE” speeds. That didn’t play out in a study from OpenSignal that found Verizon and T-Mobile 4G speeds with the 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, as well as three-way carrier aggregation, were actually quicker.
So where does that leave us? As of April, AT&T had switched on its actual 5G network in 19 cities in the United States. It has also reached speeds of 2Gbps in testing.
Those cities are as follows: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Orlando, Austin, Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco. The company is also planning to launch in Las Vegas. AT&T is only covering some areas of the cities in question while it continues to roll out the services.
Related: What is 5G?
There’s only one problem with that. Unlike Verizon and Sprint networks, AT&T has precisely zero 5G smartphones for sale on consumer plans at present. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus 5G is available exclusively on Verizon right now. AT&T says the company said it would begin selling the S10 Plus 5G in June, but it’s currently only available to business customers.
The company does offer the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot to business customers, complete with the Snapdragon 855 SoC and the X50 modem, with AT&T claiming it’s “the first and only company in the U.S. to offer a mobile 5G device over a commercial, standards-based mobile 5G network.”