AT&T this morning identified three more cities where it plans to launch mobile 5G services later this year—Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, and Oklahoma City, in addition to its previously announced Dallas, Atlanta and Waco markets—and used the announcement to take a swipe at rival T-Mobile.
“We’re deliberately launching with a mix of big and mid-sized cities,” AT&T stated in its release. The operator has said it will switch on commercial mobile 5G services in a dozen cities later this year, likely first with a “puck” style device. “One competitor recently boasted ‘New York matters more than Waco’ when discussing their future plans. We politely disagree—all Americans should have access to next-gen connectivity to avoid a new digital divide.”
AT&T is likely referencing comments made by T-Mobile’s Neville Ray earlier this year, when he boasted that T-Mobile will launch mobile 5G services in up to 30 large U.S. cities this year. “Why are we in New York and not Waco? Because New York matters,” Ray said at the time.
Such tit-for-tat bickering among wireless operators is fairly common as they work to play up their respective network improvement plans. The industry’s move toward 3G and 4G technology was also peppered with accusations of sluggish rollouts and overblown marketing messages, and already the market’s move to 5G appears to be no different.
Nonetheless, AT&T also used its 5G announcement today to offer some additional details about its network-upgrade efforts. The carrier said its “5G Evolution technology” is now available in more than 140 markets, and will reach roughly 400 markets this year. AT&T uses the 5G Evolution brand to denote markets where it is deploying advanced LTE technologies like higher-order MIMO and carrier aggregation, actions it argues sets the stage for it to deliver 5G.
Interestingly, AT&T also said that it has launched LAA in “parts” of eight new markets: Austin, Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, San Antonio, San Jose, Tampa and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The carrier said the move brings its LAA technology—which essentially transmits LTE signals in unlicensed spectrum—to a total of 15 markets. “With LTE-LAA, the network has peak theoretical wireless speeds reaching up to 1 gigabit per second on capable devices,” AT&T said.
And in related news, AT&T said that it has deployed FirstNet’s Band 14 700 MHz services to more than 2,500 cell sites across the country, with more than 10,000 currently underway.