Those markets join the seven that have already been announced as receiving 5G services at some point this year. Those include Las Vegas; Nashville, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida; and Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose, California.
AT&T late last year launched its mobile 5G network in a dozen markets. Those markets were Atlanta; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Waco, Texas; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Oklahoma City; and New Orleans.
The two new markets should help AT&T meet a recent claim by CFO John Stephens that the carrier would have 5G coverage in 20 markets by mid-year.
The carrier also reiterated its plans to provide nationwide 5G coverage by early next year. That coverage will be enabled by the carrier’s use of lower-band spectrum to support more coverage per cell site.
The carrier’s nationwide timing would align with what rival T-Mobile US is promising for its nationwide mobile 5G network. T-Mobile US has said its initial mobile 5G service will tap into its 600 MHz spectrum assets that will provide a substantial coverage advantage compared with the mmWave spectrum.
The carrier said that its initial 5G service is currently providing select customers with network speeds up to 400 Mb/s. It has also seen speeds as high as 1.5 Gb/s in field testing using a “test device.”
Those speeds are from AT&T’s self-labeled “5G+” network, with the “+” signifying its use of mmWave spectrum to bolster network speeds. This network is separate from the carrier’s controversially named “5G E” network, which is really just its 4G LTE network boosted by software and antenna enhancements.
William Ho, founder and principal analyst at 556 Ventures, explained that it was a smart move by AT&T to provide speed parameters around its 5G service.
“This looks to be a good way for AT&T to manage expectations around what customers will see with the 5G service,” Ho said. “Those in the tech world have been hearing about 5G speeds that will be multi-gigabits per second, and it’s likely to get there as the technology matures. This is just a good way to manage expectations for customers.”