AT&T plans to launch 5G mobile service in Charlotte, Raleigh, and Oklahoma City before the end of the year, the company announced Friday.
So far, at least, AT&T is avoiding dense population zones like New York, LA, and San Francisco. The company says this is a deliberate move and it intends to launch the 5G service in a blend of big and mid-sized cities “to avoid a new digital divide.”
5G mobile service is roughly 10 times faster than 4G and many companies say it will be a breakthrough technology that eases wireless data transfers.
Mayors of the cities added to AT&T’s 5G list were understandably enthusiastic about the decision.
"In a global, interconnected economy, access to the most advanced technology is vital for creating jobs and driving economic growth that benefits everyone in a community," said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. "Access to 5G technology can make a genuine difference in the lives of families."
While there’s certainly reason for excitement, there is one part of the puzzle the cities and carrier aren’t talking about.
To take advantage of AT&T’s 5G, you need a phone that works with the service. And there aren’t any on the market yet. (They’re expected to become widely available in 2020.)