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AT&T reveals 3 cities that will get 5G this year (even though phones won’t connect to it)

The list of 5G cities that AT&T will switch on this year grows by three. However, there still won't be any smartphones that can directly connect.

Published onJuly 20, 2018

Red 5G logo
  • The list of 5G cities that AT&T will switch on this year grows by three: Charlotte, Raleigh, and Oklahoma City.
  • Previously announced 5G cities are Dallas, Waco, and Atlanta.
  • AT&T promises a dozen cities will have 5G by the end of 2018, which means six more announcements are on the way.

In a press release today, AT&T boasted that it has added three additional cities to the list of areas where it will launch 5G service in 2018. The three new locations are Charlotte, NC; Raleigh, NC; and Oklahoma City, OK.

These cities join the three previously announced areas that will receive 5G: Dallas, Atlanta, and Waco.

AT&T promises that it will bring 5G mobile service to a dozen cities by the end of the year, which means there are six more locations that have yet to be announced.

However, AT&T curiously doesn’t mention anywhere in the press release that even when this 5G service officially launches no one will actually be able to access it, at least not with a smartphone directly.

HUAWEI plans first 5G phone for Q3 2019, might be Mate 30

Instead, AT&T is likely planning to launch a transitional product – probably in the form of a mobile hotspot – that will allow 4G devices to connect to the 5G network via Wi-Fi. It will be a clunky workaround, but it will allow select few people to experience what 5G speeds are really like before 2019 arrives.

As we’ve written about before, there are no smartphones currently available that can access a 5G mobile network. The first 5G-capable smartphones are likely to launch in mid-to-late 2019.

AT&T’s announcement today is more about grandstand marketing than anything else. The company is in heavy competition with Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, as all four companies race to be the first carrier to launch a commercial 5G network. Whichever company does will get bragging rights (read: marketing clout) to say that it is the “first carrier with a 5G network.”

In other words: carry on, nothing to see here.

NEXT: 5G: When will your smartphone get it?

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