AT&T has announced that their initial 5G rollout will begin close to home in Dallas along with Atlanta, and Waco, Texas. The initial rollout will be on millimeter wave spectrum and will comply with the non-standalone standard of the 3GPP. That standard was ratified late last year.
The announcement from the carrier follows up on a previous announcement made last month that laid out their intention to have 5G in a dozen cities by the end of this year. Yesterday’s announcement clarified where it will happen first and the technology involved.
The way that AT&T plans to implement 5G will work seamlessly with their current LTE equipment and the equipment being deployed today can be upgraded to support 5G going forward. End users will not feel any disruption in service if you are on a non-5G device.
While the carrier indicated that Dallas, Atlanta and Waco will be getting the coverage first, it was not announced who the other nine cities that will get 5G in 2018. That will come at a later date. Further, access to these multi-gigabyte speed networks will only come through compatible devices. For this year, that is going to be quite limited but next year it is more probable that we will see 5G support become widely available.
AT&T of course is not alone in their aspirations to get 5G rolled out to their customers. Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have all announced plans but it appears that the Dallas based carrier has the jump on them. At least for now.