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AT&T Rolls Out New 5G Service in Several Texas Cities

Along with Dallas, the company announced 5G coverage is now available in Austin, Victoria, Navarro County and Wilson County. It’s now available in 21 markets in the Lone Star State, according to the company.

by Dom DiFurio, The Dallas Morning News / June 30, 2020
AT&T corporate headquarters in downtown Dallas, Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in Dallas. TNS

(TNS) — AT&T launched its 5G coverage in Dallas, Austin and 26 other new markets Monday, according to the company.

Dallas-based AT&T has offered limited 5G coverage in the Dallas area for more than a year as infrastructure has been upgraded, but the launch today marks the first time its sub-6GHz 5G network covers the city, according to the company.

“With the latest and greatest 5G devices… when you’re on 5G you get the best experience, and we expect that to continue as we continue our deployment,” said AT&T VP of converged services Gordon Mansfield.

5G technology has promised to give customers faster, more reliable cell service. It’s also expected to foster emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles, the use of robotics and AI in new settings and virtual reality.

And AT&T is aiming for nationwide 5G by the end of summer 2020. For AT&T, that means providing 5G for more than 200 million Americans. As of today, the wireless provider currently covers 179 million in 355 markets.

Along with Dallas, the company announced 5G coverage is now available in Austin, Victoria, Navarro County and Wilson County. It’s now available in 21 markets in the Lone Star State, according to the company.

Outside of Texas, AT&T 5G is now available in 22 other markets including Salt Lake City, Utah; Miami, Fla. and portions of Puerto Rico.

AT&T has also enabled Dynamic Spectrum Sharing in an unspecified number of these new markets.

“DSS will allow us to serve 4G and 5G customers on the same channel, dynamically allocating resources based on demand,” said AT&T spokesman Jim Greer. “So we can turn up service for 5G customers without turning down 4G.”

Still, customers will have to purchase AT&T Unlimited Elite or AT&T Unlimited Extra plan to access the faster speeds that come with a 5G connection. They’ll also have to have a 5G capable smartphone – of which there are still just a few available to consumers currently.

The 5G AT&T is rolling out this summer shouldn’t be confused with its 5G+ connectivity that has launched in high density public locations like Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas and AT&T Stadium in Arlington. AT&T’s 5G+ uses true mmWave technology to deliver blazing fast download speeds and low latency in small areas, rather than the broader, slower coverage offered by its sub-6GHz 5G.

Despite the pandemic’s impact on public gatherings indoors, the company has had continued access to those spaces to upgrade the technology, according to Mansfield.

Across all providers including AT&T, 5G download speeds averaged around 62.7Mbps, according to a May 20 analysis from OpenSignal. That’s only about 10% of the speeds companies hope to provide in the future, but it is double that of average 4G speeds as major telecom providers race to establish the next generation of wireless networks.

“A lot of the hardware investments that have been made over the last couple of years are what enables us to now come back, and with software, upgrade to light up 5g,” said Mansfield.

AT&T has invested nearly $3.7 billion between 2017-2019 in its wireless and wired networks in Dallas, and nearly $8.2 billion across Texas during the same period, according to the company.

Competitor Verizon switched on its 5G coverage in select neighborhoods in October, making Dallas the first major Texas city to receive Verizon 5G.

©2020 The Dallas Morning News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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