AT&T Announces Chicago and Minneapolis as Its Next Major 5G Markets

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AT&T announced a couple of new markets that it intends to expand its millimeter wave (mmWave) – based 5G service in the coming months. Those fortunate two are Minneapolis and Chicago.

Those business sectors join the seven that have just been declared as receiving 5G services eventually this year. Those include Las Vegas; Nashville, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida; and Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose, California.

AT&T, toward the end of last year, launched its mobile 5G network in dozen markets. Those business sectors were Atlanta; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Waco, Texas; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Oklahoma City; and New Orleans.

The two new markets should help AT&T meet an ongoing case by CFO John Stephens that the carrier would have 5G coverage in 20 markets by mid-year.

The carrier additionally reiterated its plans to provide nationwide 5G coverage as early as next year. That coverage will be enabled by the carrier’s use of the lower-band spectrum to support more coverage per cell site.

The carrier’s nationwide timing would line up with what rival T-Mobile US is promising for its nationwide mobile 5G network. T-Mobile US has said its underlying mobile 5G service will take advantage of its 600 MHz spectrum resources that will provide a substantial coverage advantage compared with the mmWave range.

Managing Expectations

The carrier said that its underlying 5G service is right now giving select clients network speeds to 400 Mb/s. It has additionally considered speeds to be high as 1.5 GB/s in field testing using a “test device.”

Those speeds are from AT&T’s self-labeled “5G+” network, with the “+” signifying its use of mmWave spectrum to reinforce network speeds. This network is separate from the carrier’s disputably named “5G E” network, which is actually just its 4G LTE network boosted by software and antenna enhancements.

William Ho, founder and principal analyst at 556 Ventures, clarified that it was a brilliant move by AT&T to give speed parameters around its 5G service.

“This seems to be a decent route for AT&T to manage expectations around what customers will see with the 5G service,” Ho said. “Those in the tech world have been hearing about 5G speeds that will be multi-gigabits every second, and it’s probably going to get there as the technology matures. This is only a decent way to manage expectations for clients.”

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