However, before then, the only device that can access its system is the Netgear Nighthawk 5G hotspot. The device is currently only available to business partners and some customers in its early 5G markets, but not in stores. Not only that, but if you like a customer did need be selected and purchase it without going through AT&T’s test program, that requires one sign up, it would cost $500. The hotspot contains the Qualcomm X50 chip, which means it supports the mmWave 5G on AT&T’s network. Presumably, later this year AT&T plans to establish an upgraded hotspot with the X55, said to support both with policy that is broader. (The X50 hardware supports both the mmWave and sub-6 right now, but not on AT&T’s network architecture as it is designed today.)
(Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is assumed to emerge in a 5G version as well, but there’s no carrier announcement for that yet.) AT&T hasn’t been stopped by that from utilizing this arbitrary and meaningless milestone for a marketing opportunity. “There are currently 19 cities throughout the country where AT&T is the only carrier to offer mobile 5G service to businesses and consumers, well ahead of their competition,” the company’s press release reads.
AT&T currently boasts 19 cities using 5G support as of today, but there’s once again a large caveat: there are not any smartphones which may utilize it yet. Furthermore, a mobile hotspot it supplies, AT&T’s only available apparatus, can’t nevertheless be bought in shops.
AT&T is promising customers it’ll get access to this 5G version of the S10 after this spring, as well as another 5G smartphone from Samsung later this season that we can only assume now refers to either the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Notice 10 or some newer version of the S10 that supports both mmWave and sub-6 spectrum, as a result of Qualcomm’s new X55 chipset.
AT&T is far from alone. Verizon may have the very first 5G handset but the 5G installation of the company is far less robust than AT&T’s. While AT&T first launched 5G in 12 cities late last year, Verizon only just began offering its version of the ceremony in”select areas” of both Chicago and Minneapolis.
The Verge went to the Illinois metropolis last week to try it out ourselves, and also while the rates were definitely blazing fast, coverage was terribly shoddy. You can also simply access it using the Motorola Moto Z3. Similarly, Verizon is relying on the short-range, mmWave spectrum, so you need to be physically nearby one of its 5G nodes in downtown Chicago to get it. Walk round the corner, or put a surface not made of glass between you and the node, and you drop back down to LTE.
So both firms’ 5G strategies are a bit of a marketing disaster right now, and certainly resulting in a serious confusion. 5G will undoubtedly arrive at some stage within another couple of years, with smartphones carrying 5G modems provide those high speeds that are guaranteed and to support the standard. But until today, AT&T and Verizon are racing one another to a race’s finish line only the two firms care about. Meanwhile, we as clients are stuck using silly ploys like the enforced AT&T 5G E emblem that, if you recall, isn’t really real 5G, but yet another trick aimed at creating AT&T look like it has arrived in the future faster than its corporate rival.