Having launched preliminary 5G services using millimeter wave hardware in late 2018, AT&T has technically been operating a 5G network for a year and a half — but between the “5G+” network’s few connection points and extremely limited hardware support, most people in the U.S. couldn’t actually use it. Today, AT&T says that it has officially made its low band 5G network available nationwide in the U.S., reaching a potential 205 million customers across 395 coverage markets. The carrier is also making 5G service available to a wider range of customers at no additional charge.
On a positive note, AT&T is now the second U.S. carrier with a nationwide 5G network, joining T-Mobile, which launched a similarly large network in December 2019 using long distance but slow low band towers. But T-Mobile’s low band 5G peaks at speeds around 225Mbps, nowhere near the 2Gbps peaks seen in Verizon’s all but unusably small 5G network, while promising only a 20% improvement over 4G speeds on average. AT&T’s low band 5G network is expected to deliver comparable performance.
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