AT&T 5G reaches 250 million covered and expands 5G+ to more cities and venues

AT&T store
AT&T store (Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • AT&T 5G now covers more than 250 million people six months ahead of schedule.
  • 5G+ continues to expand with coverage in parts of more than 40 cities and 40 venues by the end of 2021.
  • 5G+ is already available in one airport, with seven more planned by the end of the year and 25 by the end of 2022.

AT&T has a lot to say about 5G, announcing it has reached 250 million people covered by its 5G network in July 2021. This is six months ahead of schedule and is a major step towards achieving full nationwide 5G coverage. This coverage is mostly made up of AT&T's low-band 5G and shared DSS 5G. The announcement also included updates to its 5G+ (mmWave 5G) expansion and a plan for C-Band deployment.

AT&T's 5G+ currently has coverage in parts of 38 cities and 20 venues. This is expected to grow to more than 40 cities and 40 venues by the end of 2021. 5G+ uses mmWave technology to deploy high-speed 5G connectivity with a ton of capacity in areas with a large concentration of connections. AT&T is focusing 5G+ on stadiums, arenas, airports, and entertainment districts. AT&T is also working to bring 5G+ to more than two dozen corporate retail stores by the beginning of 2022.

In the most recent FCC auction, AT&T acquired 80MHz of C-band, which is mid-band spectrum around 6GHz. For comparison, T-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G uses 2.5GHz spectrum. AT&T will be able to start deployment later in 2021 when the first 40MHz of C-band spectrum becomes available. This is part of its plan to cover 70-75 million people by the end of 2022 plus a further 200 million by the end of 2023. C-band sits between AT&T's nationwide 5G and 5G+ in terms of performance but offers much greater coverage than 5G+.

AT&T 5G How it's going graphic, July 14, 2021

Source: AT&T (Image credit: Source: AT&T)

AT&T also announced its plan to expand 5G+ coverage in airports. Currently, only the Tampa International Airport has 5G+ coverage and AT&T plans to cover seven more by the end of 2021, with a total of 25 covered by the end of 2022. 5G+ will be coming to Dallas Love Field Airport, Los Angeles Airport (LAX), and Denver International Airport in the coming months.

AT&T is also working with Boingo, a company that provides Wi-Fi and connectivity to airports, to bring mmWave to 12 airports. This includes John F Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, and Midway International Airport.

AT&T 5G including 5G+ is available to customers on one of AT&T's Unlimited plans with a compatible 5G phone. AT&T's best 5G plan, Unlimited Elite, comes with unlimited premium data, 40GB of hotspot usage, and 4K video streaming. 5G is also included with the AT&T Prepaid Unlimited Plus plan as well as on prepaid carrier Cricket.

Samuel Contreras

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.