Battleground Indianapolis: AT&T, Verizon to face off in 5G

Indianapolis (pixabay)
Both AT&T and Verizon plan to launch 5G services in Indianapolis. (Pixabay)

AT&T announced that it plans to launch its mobile 5G service in Indianapolis late this year. The city joins Atlanta, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Waco, Texas, and Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina, as one of a dozen cities where AT&T will launch its mobile 5G service.

Importantly, Verizon recently announced that it too plans to launch its 5G service in Indianapolis later this year. Thus, AT&T and Verizon will both be battling for 5G market share in Indianapolis—and likely in other locations as well—in the coming months.

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As part of its Indianapolis announcement Thursday, AT&T also said that it has invested nearly $425 million in the market during 2015-2017. In 2017, AT&T said it made more than 525 wireless network upgrades in the Indianapolis area. The operator said it also offers “5G Evolution” services in Indianapolis, supporting theoretical peak speeds of 400 Mbps, and LTE-LAA services, capable of theoretical speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

Verizon earlier this month announced that it would launch its fixed 5G service in Indianapolis later this year. The city joins Sacramento, Los Angeles and Houston as Verizon’s initial 5G launch markets. In that announcement, Verizon also said that its 5G in-home, fixed wireless customers will be able to choose between a free Apple TV 4K device or a period of free YouTube TV service. However, the company has not provided details of that offer, including how long customers might receive YouTube TV and how long they might need to subscribe to the service in order to qualify for a free Apple TV device.

AT&T, for its part, has made clear its video intentions. The company acquired DirecTV in 2015 and earlier this year closed on its acquisition acquisition of Time Warner. AT&T is now in the midst of building out a variety of video offerings ranging from its DirecTV Now service to its AT&T Watch service. The company has also promised to launch a higher-tier, premium video offering later this year. AT&T will likely bundle its video service with its 5G offerings.

Another big distinction between the strategy of AT&T and Verizon in 5G is that AT&T has said that its services will be mobile. Verizon, on the other hand, intends to initially launch fixed 5G services later this year; Verizon has said that it will launch mobile 5G services roughly six months after it launches fixed 5G services.

Thus, Verizon will be targeting the market for internet service in locations like homes and offices, while AT&T will likely target mobile users. Initially, AT&T has said it will offer a “puck”-style device for 5G mobile internet access.