Cellphone service provider AT&T this week added the Twin Cities and Chicago to its list of cities where it will deploy its new, faster 5G mobile and hotspot network. The expanded rollout was based on the success of the initial launch of 5G, AT&T said, which marks an industry first for cellular network speed.
Dallas-based AT&T says customers using 5G have experienced download speeds in the range of 200 to 300 megabits per second, or even, in limited instances, as high as 400 megabits per second. The current industry standard 4G network, by comparison, is capable of handling download speeds between 5 and 12 megabits per second, generally speaking.
“Getting to mobile 5G first meant pushing the industry and ourselves faster than ever before, but we did it right and blazed a trail for others to follow,” says Jeff McElfresh, president of AT&T’s technology operations. “Now that we’ve had a few weeks to let the network breathe and look at real world results, I’m very encouraged by what we’re seeing.”
McElfresh says they expect the 5G-driven speed and performance to continue improving over the next few months as the company offers 5G to more and more customers, thereby giving AT&T more data and feedback on which to base adjustments.
Ultimately, the goal is to have a nationwide 5G network using sub-6 gigahertz spectrum by early 2020.
To date, AT&T’s early rollout lineup includes Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose, along with the Twin Cities and Chicago.
One entity that’s already using the 5G network is New Orleans full-service motion picture, television and digital media production facility Deep South Studios.
“We jumped at the chance to work with AT&T as an early adopter of 5G,” says Mick Flannigan, executive vice president of Deep South Studios. “We’re interested to see how the technology will handle transferring large amounts of HD video, including high-resolution graphics and video effects.”
The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) is optimistic that local businesses will be just as pleased with the introduction of 5G as Flannigan is.
“We are excited that AT&T will be bringing 5G to the Twin Cities this year,” says John Dukich, MHTA director of public policy and research. “From connected devices and vehicles to robotics, health IT and telemedicine, Minnesota’s consumers and technology companies stand to benefit from the deployment of 5G.”