AT&T plans to get a jump on the competition by rolling out 5G service by the end of this year. The wireless industry just approved mobile 5G standards in December, and AT&T intends to launch the technology in 12 markets across the country. The company hasn't specified which customers will enjoy the next generation network first.
Similarly, while device manufacturers are working on hardware to take advantage of the new specification, it's not clear which devices are coming to market first. Apple is definitely planning to implement 5G in a future iPhone, as the company filed an application to start testing the technology last year. Intel is said to be working with Apple on 5G components.
5th generation wireless systems will supersede 4G and LTE Advanced, which is an improved version of 4G. AT&T has marketed its improved 4G technology as 5G Evolution. During the past year the wireless carrier has rolled out 5G Evolution across 23 major metropolitan areas, with plans to continue the process in hundreds of additional markets.
AT&T president of Technology and Operations Melissa Arnoldi explained the potential of 5G technology:
5G offers significantly reduced latency over LTE networks, improved coverage, more efficient signaling, and of course higher data transfer rates. Other carriers have revealed their 5G plans, with Sprint launching 5G in 2019 and T-Mobile following up in 2020. Verizon has also been testing 5G technology.
“5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment... With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more."