- AT&T says it now offers nationwide 5G coverage.
- Approximately 205 million can get 5G service from the carrier.
- It will include 5G access in its Unlimited Starter plans.
Following years of work, the USâ€™ second-largest carrier says it now offers nationwide 5G coverage. If you take a look at AT&Tâ€™s coverage maps, youâ€™ll note the company doesnâ€™t have 5G service in every state and city across the US.
So what does nationwide coverage mean in this context? According to an AT&T spokesperson, the FCC defines â€˜nationwideâ€™ as covering more than 200 million people. As of todayâ€™s announcement, approximately 205 million people in 395 markets across the US can sign up for 5G service at AT&T. For context, T-Mobile was the first carrier to offer nationwide 5G coverage.
Some of the more notable markets where AT&T now offers 5G services include Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Houston and San Antonio, Texas.
AT&T only has mmWave coverage in about three dozen cities across the US. In most markets, the carrierâ€™s 5G backend depends on sub-6GHz spectrum. Thatâ€™s not necessarily a bad thing. While mmWave allows for the multi-gigabit speeds that much of the hype for 5G comes from, sub-6GHz is more reliable.
Read more: The best AT&T plans available today
Beginning August 7, the carrier will include 5G access in its Unlimited Starter plan, which starts at $35 per month. That means those with Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite plans â€” which start at $40 and $50 per month, respectively â€” also get access to 5G connectivity. If youâ€™re currently a prepaid customer and donâ€™t want to switch to a postpaid plan, your best bet is to wait until August 21. Thatâ€™s when AT&Tâ€™s Cricket Wireless brand will offer 5G access.
Of course, youâ€™ll need a compatible device to take advantage of the carrierâ€™s 5G network. Some of the phones the 5G-capable phones AT&T sells include the Galaxy S20, LG V60 and LG Velvet. The Note 20 should also do the trick once itâ€™s available sometime next month.
The announcement comes in the same week that AT&T scared some of its customers with a misleading email that made it seem like they would need to upgrade their current phone as soon as possible to continue getting service. The message didnâ€™t make it immediately clear that those customers had until 2022 to replace their devices. AT&T said the omission was a mistake.