The only two 5G smartphones which will be made available to US clients so far this year will be the Verizon-exclusive Samsung Galaxy S10, that doesn’t even have a firm release date, along with the Verizon- and Sprint-exclusive LG V50. (Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is supposed to emerge in a 5G variant as well, but there is no carrier announcement for that yet.) AT&T hasn’t been stopped by that from using this mostly meaningless and random milestone for an advertising opportunity. “There are now 19 cities across the country where AT&T is the only provider to provide mobile 5G support to businesses and customers , well ahead of our competition,” the business’s press release reads.
AT&T is assuring customers it will get access to this 5G version of the S10 later this spring, as well as another 5G smartphone from Samsung later this year that we may only assume now refers to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Notice 10 or some newer variant of this S10 that affirms both the mmWave and sub-6 spectrum, as a result of Qualcomm’s new X55 chipset.
AT&T currently boasts 19 cities using 5G service as of today, but there’s once again a large caveat: there aren’t any smartphones that can use it yet. Furthermore, a mobile hotspot it provides, AT&T’s only available authentic 5G apparatus, can not yet be purchased in shops.
So both firms’ 5G plans are a small marketing disaster at this time, and certainly leading to some significant confusion. 5G will arrive at a certain point in another couple of years, with smartphones carrying proper 5G modems provide those rates that are guaranteed and to support the standard. But until now, Verizon and AT&T are racing one another to a race’s finish line the two firms care about. Meanwhile, we as clients are stuck using silly ploys like the imposed AT&T 5G E logo that, if you recall, isn’t really real 5G, but yet another suggestion aimed at creating AT&T look like it’s arrived at the future quicker than its corporate rival.
In muddying the 5G waters, aT&T is far from alone. The company’s 5G deployment is much less powerful than AT&T’s, although verizon might have the commercial 5G handset as an exclusive for its system. While AT&T first launched 5G in 12 cities last year, Verizon only started offering its version of the service in”select regions” of Chicago and Minneapolis.
The Verge went to the Illinois metropolis a week to check it out ourselves, and while the rates were definitely blazing fast, coverage was terribly shoddy. You can also access it using the midrange Motorola Moto Z3 with the 5G Moto Mod. Similarly, Verizon is currently relying just on the short-range spectrum, so you need to be one of its 5G nodes in downtown Chicago to access it. Walk around the corner, or put a surface not made from glass between the node and you, and you’ll likely fall back down to LTE.
However, until then, the only device that can access its network is the Netgear Nighthawk 5G hotspot. The device is currently available to business partners and a few clients in its 5G markets, but not in stores. Not only that, but if you did need be selected and purchase it without going via the evaluation program, that requires one sign up of AT&T, it would cost $500. The Qualcomm X50 chip, which means it simply supports the short-range 5G on AT&T’s network is contained by the hotspot. Presumably, AT&T intends to establish an hotspot with the X55 after this season, said to support both with policy that is wider. (The X50 hardware supports both mmWave and sub-6 right now, but maybe not on AT&T’s network structure as it is designed now.)