Like T-Mobile US, AT&T has somehow figured out a way to deliver 5G at nationwide scale over the next six months.

For those who sit in the rural locations where 4G signal is still somewhat of a gamble, the claim from AT&T must come as a surprise. But it seems AT&T has taken the bait and is following T-Mobile US down the 5G rabbit hole with an absurd claim it will deliver nationwide 5G in the first half of 2020.

“When we introduced the U.S. to 5G last year, we started with a business-first and experience-based strategy to lay the foundation for innovation to come,” said Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Consumer. “We’re now introducing consumers to the future of wireless with broad 5G service included in our best unlimited plans for 5G devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G.”

The Samsung device is the first in the AT&T portfolio which will make use of low-band spectrum, explaining how the glorious ‘nationwide’ claim can be realised. The expansion of the 5G network using the enhanced coverage airwaves will focus on the larger metropolitan areas over the next couple of months.

What remains to be seen is whether this can be justified as delivering on the 5G promise. Both AT&T and T-Mobile US will make use of low-band spectrum in an attempt to meet the nationwide claim, though these airwaves will not be able to deliver the eye-watering speeds many are expecting in the 5G era. Both could be setting themselves up for considerable criticism with brash promises.

Interestingly enough, despite 5G not being a reality just yet AT&T has decided to launch a ‘5G+’ service. It might sound like an interesting proposition, but once again AT&T is stretching the truth in pursuit of an advertising tagline. 5G+ is 5G making use of mmWave spectrum. It will be faster, but it is still 5G.

Once again, the US telcos are making some ‘creative’ claims to compensate for a tricky situation. The European telcos are surging forward with 5G deployments in the mid-band spectrum, a much more attractive compromise between speed and coverage, while the US telcos struggle to make 5G work appropriately in the mmWave airwaves.

US telcos need to access the valuable mid-band spectrum frequencies, but these have been allocated elsewhere over bygone years. The FCC perhaps needs to take a more proactive stance, as 5G delivered over the low-band frequencies will not create the connectivity euphoria which has been promised.


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