AT&TSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

What you need to know

  • AT&T announced the nationwide rollout of 5G today.
  • It will also be offering a free 5G upgrade to users of its Unlimited Starter, Extra, and Elite plans from August 7.
  • The carrier has stocked 5G equipped phones, including the LG Velvet, Samsung Galaxy A71, and the upcoming Galaxy Z Flip 5G.

The march of 5G continues as AT&T today announced the deployment of the new standard across the U.S. Looking at AT&T's coverage map, it's nowhere near as ubiquitous as LTE, but it's not as limited as it was at the start of the year.

For existing customers and subscribers, AT&T is adding support for 5G to its AT&T Unlimited Starter, Extra, and Elite plans from August 7. Individuals on any of these (or their Business Unlimited equivalents) would be able to take advantage of faster connectivity without paying more. Pre-paid customers will have to purchase either a 5G enabled device directly from AT&T, or use an eligible device on the company's Unlimited Plus plan.

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Commenting on the story, AT&T's Chris Sambar, EVP of Technology Operations said:

Our strategy of deploying 5G in both sub-6 (5G) and mmWave (5G+) spectrum bands will provide the best mix of speeds, latency, and coverage that are needed to enable revolutionary new capabilities to fuel 5G experiences for consumers and businesses. Our competitors are still working to provide that same mix, which for them could take months or even years. What we offer is available to consumers and businesses today, and we're not slowing down. As we have throughout our 144-year history, we'll continue to innovate and invest in our network to expand our 5G coverage to more consumers and businesses across the country.

In the past few weeks, there has been a glut of 5G devices launched on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Samsung's Galaxy A71 and the LG Velvet are just two notable mid-range examples. In the near future, flagships like the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Z Flip will be making their entrance. Finally, Google is also rumored to be bringing a Pixel 4a with 5G alongside a 5G equipped Pixel 5 to the market pretty soon.

Faster than we expected, we're moving swiftly towards a 5G world. Carriers can build the networks, but it's also up to phone OEMs to build affordable devices that can reach a critical mass of people. It's also up to chip makers to create chips like Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765 or Mediatek's inexpensive Dimensity 800-series which enable those cheaper 5G enabled phones to hit the market.

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