AT&T rolls out 5G to 10 cities with a phone you can get now

It’s finally here. And not just in a “theoretical” sense. AT&T starts rolling out real 5G coverage to customers in ten cities today along with a phone that anyone can buy. This, my friends, is what we’ve been waiting for.

The 5G story

So far I hate to say it but the 5G story has been mostly a fairy tale. We’ve all known it was coming but there have been a few twists and turns along the way. In the last 18 months we’ve seen…

2018: AT&T starts rolling out “5G Evolution”

Back in May 2018, AT&T rolled out the first towers upgraded to take advantage of what they called “5G Evolution.” While tech blogs shouted that it wasn’t “real 5G,” whatever that means, it didn’t matter. Using the phones they already had, and the technology standard that already existed, AT&T delivered double the data speeds to customers. I called it a win and I still do. If my 2016-era phone can get download speeds of 90Mbps in the middle of the desert, they can call it whatever they want.

Summer ’19: AT&T lights up 5G for a small number of people

In late 2018, AT&T delivered on its promise for 5G. Well, sort of. Yes, they rolled out 5G service to 12 cities in November of ’18. But it was just for hotspot service and it was only for businesses. It was a big step, but it wasn’t for everyone. They added more cities and a cell phone to the mix a few months later, but 5G was still only for businesses.

T-Mobile: What if they launched a network and nobody came?

In late 2019, T-Mobile ran a lot of commercials about their 600MHz 5G network launch. Yes, they did launch a nationwide 600MHz 5G network, but they don’t actually have a device that uses it. You could say it was smart to make sure the infrastructure was there first, but why all the commercials when there wasn’t a product to buy?

The circle is now complete

The Verge is reporting that AT&T has lit up real 600MHz 5G in ten cities for all customers, not just business ones. They’re also offering the Samsung Galaxy Note Plus 5G to anyone who is willing to pony up the $1,300 it takes to buy one.

The rollout starts in the following cities:

  • Birmingham, AL
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Providence, RI
  • Rochester, NY
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA

and AT&T promises to light up Boston, MA, Bridgeport, CT, Buffalo, NY, Las Vegas, NV, Louisville, KY, and New York City in 2020. You can see some of the coverage maps here.

What a win

Let’s break it down. AT&T came through with the first 5G-like speeds in the business and delivered them for free to existing customers. They lit up real honest 5G over a year ago and now they’re offering real 5G to everyone in some of the largest cities in the nation. Talk about a hat trick. You’ll see the other carriers trying to catch up but really, it’s pretty easy to see that AT&T has pulled ahead of the other carriers.

How to get in on the party

In order to get 5G you’ll need a new phone. You’ll also need one of AT&T’s unlimited plans. Luckily, you have a friend in the business. If you’re looking to upgrade, call us at Signal Connect. Whether you’re looking for the blazing speed of 5G or looking to get the massive speed bump of 5G Evolution, Signal Connect can help. We have phones and phone plans for every budget and we can help you find the phone you need and the plan you want. Call us at 866-726-4182 or, if it’s after East Coast business hours, fill out the form below. One of our reps will get back to you, usually within 24 hours.

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 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.