5G service is currently limited to select AT&T customers, who are all accessing the network using Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. AT&T today announced that it will expand its 5G footprint later in 2019 with the addition of two more cities: Chicago And Minneapolis. These are key markets for AT&T to spread its 5G goodness, and join other previously announced 2019 expansions which include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.
As for the 12 cities that currently have access to AT&T's 5G wireless network, the company is boasting that customers are seeing network speeds of between 200 to 300 Mbps on average, while some have seen data rates of up to 400 Mbps. With regards to AT&T's own field testing, it says that it has seen speeds of 1.5 Gbps with prototype hardware. So that's what we can look forward to the in coming years as 5G devices start maturing and carriers start expanding their networks and adding capacity.
In addition, the company says that its 5G network should be available nationwide by early 2020 thanks to the use of sub-6 GHz spectrum.
“Getting to mobile 5G first meant pushing the industry and ourselves faster than ever before, but we did it right and blazed a trail for others to follow,” said Jeff McElfresh, who serves as AT&T's President of Technology Operations. "We can’t wait to drive forward and bring 5G+ to even more consumers and businesses in the coming months.”
In the meantime, between now and when its "true" 5G network is fully available to Americans, AT&T is pushing its fake 5G Evolution (5G E) network. 5G E is merely an extension of existing 4G LTE technology, but AT&T's promotion of 5G E and its insistence on pushing the 5G E logo out to Android and iOS devices has led to customer confusionand pushback from its competitors. One competitor, Sprint, has even filed a lawsuit over the shady move.
For its part, AT&T has pretty much said deal with it. "Every company is guilty of building a narrative of how you want the world to work," said AT&T Communication CEO John Donovan in January.