AT&T rolling out more “5G Evolution” coverage

I’ve noticed lately that even on my older phone, I’m getting that “5GE” icon a lot lately. AT&T is spending a lot of time and money upgrading cell sites to use the latest available technology. There are three different initiatives going on at the same time and all of them mean one thing: better cell service for you.


FirstNet is a cellular network that’s exclusive to first responders. On a regular day, normal people could use those frequencies, but in case of emergencies they could be blocked off so that only registered first responders could use them. This is a response to several cases where first responders couldn’t talk to each other when it was needed. FirstNet was authorized in 2015 and AT&T was tapped to operate the network.

AT&T is rolling out FirstNet all over the country and that means upgrades to existing hardware. It also gives AT&T the mandate to go into areas where they’ve never had service before. Even though the company serves about 99% of people with its current footprint, they’ll be upping that number by going to extremely rural and distant areas. Putting FirstNet in will also mean putting in regular cell service.

5G Evolution

“5G Evolution” is AT&T’s cute name for aggregated MIMO LTE. In other words, it’s traditional cell service that combines multiple frequencies and multiple antennas.

For the record, I’m not a fan of the name. I don’t think AT&T had to brand it this way; it would still have been awesome. But the people who really complain about it are missing the point. With 5GE I’m getting 90 megabits down on my phone, and it’s not even the latest model. As far as I’m concerned, keep giving me that speed and you can call it 8G if you want.

True 5G

5G is being rolled out in markets where the frequencies for it are available. City by city, you’ll find that channels are changing. Do a search on this site for “repack” and you’ll find a lot of news. The first phase of 5G will use frequencies that are in the UHF channel range, and this will be pretty awesome. The next phase is really going to rock your world, with 1,000 megabits coming down to your phone every second. That phase will require a whole lot more towers and a lot more time. Right now it seems like AT&T’s upgrades are focusing on the lower bands. This will make it easier for regular folks to get the speeds they need.

And all of this means…

it’s never been a better time to be an AT&T customer. Complain if you must about the service you used to have, but AT&T’s service keeps improving. Speeds are getting faster, coverage is getting better, and the number of bars are going up. Combine that with a great selection of phones and the kind of legendary service you can get by calling Signal Connect at 888-233-7563 (or filling out the form below) and you’ll see that this is the right time to partner with AT&T for everything in your digital life.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.