What you need to know
- AT&T has launched C-Band 5G in eight metro areas, with growth coverage expected to reach 200 million people by the end of 2023.
- This new coverage adds speed and capacity to the nationwide 5G network that already covers 255 million people.
- AT&T has 17 phones ready for C-Band with 5G iPhones, the Galaxy S21 series, and the Pixel 6 series supporting C-band on AT&T.
AT&T announced that it has gone live with C-Band 5G in several markets in the U.S. as a starting point for its upgraded 5G network. C-Band uses mid-band spectrum between 3.7GHz and 4GHz to deliver faster speeds and greater capacity than its existing nationwide network. AT&T is also leveraging its fiber network to allow for quicker upgrades and faster 5G.
Users with a compatible phone in a C-Band coverage area will see the "5G+" icon on their phones. This icon is also used when connected to the carrier's mmWave 5G; a network that's already live in parts of 44 cities and 30 stadiums and venues. While C-Band isn't as fast as mmWave, it has much greater coverage and will be great for filling in the gaps between mmWave coverage and for adding more speed to areas covered by nationwide 5G.
AT&T's C-Band is live in parts of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, Chicago, Detroit, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami. Luckily for customers, AT&T already has 17 phones ready to go with C-band support, including some of the best Android phones. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series both support C-Band as well as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Samsung also has several phones ready to go with the Galaxy A13 5G, S21 series, S21 FE 5G, Z Flip3 5G, and Z Fold3 5G.
C-band deployment isn't without controversy, as the FAA claims that the deployment of C-Band spectrum could cause issues with altimeters on older planes in low-visibility conditions. AT&T and Verizon have agreed to delay deployment around airports for the time being. Still, C-Band deployment is proceeding in other parts of the country and will be a major part of AT&T's mid-band 5G coverage alongside its other mid-band spectrum.
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When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.