AT&T has had a plan to launch its mobile 5G network in the United States before the end of 2018. Barring any unforeseen issues, it sounds like the big blue wireless carrier is going to reach that goal.
AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan said earlier this week that the carrier is going to launch its mobile 5G network “in the next few weeks”. The wireless carrier has already announced several different cities that will host the mobile 5G network in 2018 (Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco), but at the time of publication there is no word on which of these cities will launch first.
We won’t see a smartphone on the market to actually access that mobile 5G network in 2018, though. Instead, AT&T plans on launching a puck-sized mobile hotspot device. So while we likely won’t see 5G-enabled smartphones until early 2019, it looks like if you’ve got AT&T and you’re lucky enough to be in the right market at launch, you could be accessing 5G network speeds courtesy of a mobile hotspot device.
AT&T has also recently announced that it has successfully conducted “the world’s first millimeter wave mobile 5G browsing session”. According to the carrier’s announcement, this was achieved on a Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. It appears that this will be the mobile hotspot device that AT&T launches later this year.