5G promises to deliver super low latency and speeds that are 100 to 250 times faster than 4G. However, the rollout of this next-generation cellular technology has been rather slow to date. But things should ramp up at least a bit in the year ahead.
Here’s what we’ve seen in recent months.
In October Verizon (News - Alert) launched fixed broadband services based on 5G in a handful of cities. That included Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.
In November, the Federal Communications Commission launched its first 5G spectrum auction. Auction 101 makes available spectrum in the 28 GHz band. Next up is Auction 102, which will offer up 24 GHz band spectrum.
Also, this month AT&T launched 5G networks in parts of a dozen cities. That includes Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco.
But reports indicate that AT&T’s (News - Alert) live 5G networks top out at “peak theoretical speeds of 1.2 Gbps.” Also, AT&T 5G networks are usable only by businesses with a 5G-capable mobile hot spot. And AT&T is providing those hot spots, and related 5G service, only to select businesses (and free of charge for now).
Everybody else will have to wait several months to get their hands on the 5G hot spot, which will sell for $499. AT&T reportedly will offer 15GB for $70 a month.
Here’s what’s next.
AT&T plans to expand 5G to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose over the next six months.
Sprint (News - Alert) expects to launch a 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019.
T-Mobile should have users on its 5G network starting next year.
And Verizon plans to launch a 5G hot spot as well as a 5G mobility service early next year. As part of the mobile 5G launch, the company will support the Samsung (News - Alert) 5G smartphone.
The year ahead also will see the FCC open up spectrum on additional bands. That will include the 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz millimeter-wave spectrum bands.
Edited by Maurice Nagle