As things stand, the AT&T 5G low-band network is only supported by one phone, the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. However, the company has announced that it plans to turn this around in 2020, by having 15 5G phones support its network by the end of the year.
Most of the 15 new devices will utilize AT&T's low-band 5G spectrum, as well as its higher-frequency millimeter wave (mmWave). On top of this, devices such as laptops and hotspots will also be on AT&T’s network – but no exact number was revealed.
Bringing 5G to a wider audience
AT&T’s low-band 850Mhz 5G network only went live in December last year, and is currently active in 19 areas. The company plans to expand this significantly in 2020, bringing 5G to 200 million people by the summer. This low-band network isn’t much faster than 4G LTE, but can offer a larger coverage, and supplement higher-frequency millimeter-wave network, called “5G Plus”.
This super-fast network has been live since 2018, and has expanded to parts of 35 cities. However, this network is limited to only developers. And whilst it’s super-fast, it’s limited to small coverage, and it cannot pass through objects such as walls.
The 'chocolate chip cookie' network
Chris Penrose, AT&T's senior vice president of Advanced Mobility and Entertainment Solutions, describes his 5G network as a chocolate chip cookie. The cookie representing the low-band 5G, and the chips the super-fast millimeter-wave cities "sprinkled in across the country."
Penrose explains that the 15 new phones this year will have access to the “entire cookie’, whether it’s the low-band 5G or the super-fast “5G Plus”.
Whilst we don’t know what devices will support AT&T’s 5G or when they are coming, Penrose promised that prices will be "competitive in the marketplace."