AT&T just announced that they are ready to offer 5G network service among its consumers across 19 cities. With the on-going competition among telecommunications companies, AT&T has the leg up. Meanwhile, Verizon has the handset devices to connect to the network but lack the infrastructure.
“AT&T mobile 5G service is now live in parts of 7 more cities, including Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. There are now 19 cities across the nation where AT&T is the only carrier to offer mobile 5G service to businesses and consumers, well ahead of our competition,” the company said in a press release.
5G, if you’re not aware of, is the next wave of technological advancement in terms of speed and efficiency with delivering data from point A to point B. It passes way beyond what the current 4G/LTE has to offer with speeds up to 1GB/s. This isn’t only great for people who love to surf online, but it also opened a lot of doors industries to flourish in the cyberspace. It’s so fast that the technology was used to perform the first remote surgery in China.
The thing with 5G is that the new network requires new hardware. Telecommunications companies will need to build new infrastructure, as well as, new receivers for mobile devices to work under this new connectivity. There’s no point in having the latest model if it can’t connect to a readily available 5G network or having readily available infrastructure but no device that can connect to it.
Verizon, just last week, announced that it has started distributing its 5G networks in Chicago and Minneapolis, which are the first two among 30 cities that it plans to distribute the technology within the year. However, it is important to note that Verizon’s connectivity is minimal, even if you’re in Chicago or Minneapolis, coverage span only reaches the general downtown areas and certain landmarks, like Minneapolis’ US Bank Stadium and Chicago neighborhoods Gold Coast, River North, and Old Town.
On the other hand, even though AT&T has the most available hardware to distribute the 5G network, there’s aren’t many available mobile devices that are available in the market to utilize the technology primarily for consumers under AT&T.
As of the moment, Verizon sets its eyes on providing exclusive 5G connectivity to Samsung’s Galaxy S10, which doesn’t have a firm release date but is said to be expected in the “first half of 2019,” where time’s ticking down on, and LG’s V50, which is supposed to be also available for Sprint users. Also, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is also to come with their version of the 5G-able device, but there’s no carrier announcement for that yet.
However, it’s not a dead end for people who want to experience the 450mbps minimum to 1gbps download speeds. Last summer, Motorola launched its handset that’s ready for 5G networks, the Moto Z3 and paired with the 5G Moto Mod, which was just made available last week. But this pairing results in extreme limitations also. The mod will need to be placed near the Verizon 5G nodes to connect to the service successfully. Once there’s a barrier between the phone and the mod, you’ll launch back to LTE. It will also cost customers an additional $10 a month to use the 5G network.
Looking from it from afar, AT&T has a better infrastructure that can distribute 5G across devices but Verizon’s leading with more devices loyal to their carrier. If there are any other available devices compatible with 5G, Verizon’s 5G nodes still lack the efficiency and convenience that we usually have with standard 4G/LTE connection.
Overall, it’s a step towards public use of the 5G network, but there still are many hurdles that telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T, among others that need to be conquered. As expected, the revolutionary 5G tech would require an overhaul in the current system to accommodate it, and hardware is most likely to be the most costly and time-consuming. Because if you want to use the 5G connectivity, you’re going to expect to buy a new phone and pay higher bills, which is relatively worth it compared to the benefits from 5G.