AT&T announces its first 5G markets: Dallas, Waco, and Atlanta

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AT&T is planning to deliver its brand of 5G networking to a dozen cities.

Conducting 5G tests in Austin "will allow us to continue our leadership in standards-based 5G mobile deployments", AT&T said in a written statement. The company said it will add more devices, including smartphones, in 2019.

AT&T is in the process of launching a full mobile 5G network in 12 cities this year, with its first locations including Dallas, Atlanta and Waco. Though mmWave spectrum will be used initially, other additional spectrum bands will be followed later.

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Given the limitations of millimeter wave spectrum (it needs nearly flawless line-of-site and is susceptible to blockage from trees, foliage and buildings, for example) some mobile and wireless experts believe that 5G will need to run on a "dual-PHY" network that employs a fallback to sub-6 GHz spectrum. That trailblazing move makes the company the only US carrier to roll out plans for the high-speed technology in 2018, according to its announcement.

The first recipients of AT&T's next-gen network include: Dallas, Texas; Waco, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia.

To meet an aggressive timeline, it's opening a new 5G lab in Austin, Texas.

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Not only do we know the first AT&T 5G cities that will go live later in 2018, we know some of the network tech they plan to deploy as this whole 5G thing builds out. AT&T also said it plans to virtualize 75 percent of its network by 2020, after reaching its 2017 goal of 55 percent. In the USA, we learned the government may be considering a nationwide 5G network.

2018 will be a year for the earliest of 5G early adopters.

AT&T said its 5G network should be 10 to 100 times faster than 4G.

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