AT & T has a 5G service in 19 cities, but there is still no phone to use it

The state of 5G continues to be a mess, so large US telecommunications race to one another by being the first to distribute heaped versions of next-generation network technology across the country. AT & T now has 19 cities with 5G service from today, but again there is a big warning: there are no smartphones that can use it yet. Furthermore, AT & T's only available genuine 5G device, a mobile hotspot it provides, cannot be purchased in stores.

The only two 5G smartphones that will be made available to US customers so far this year are the Verizon exclusive Samsung Galaxy S1[ads1]0, which does not even have a fixed release date, and the Verizon and Sprint exclusive LG V50. (Samsung's Galaxy Fold will also come in a 5G version, but it's not yet a notebook message for that yet.) It has not stopped AT&T from using this arbitrary and largely meaningless marketing milestone. "There are now 19 cities across the country where AT & T is the only provider that offers mobile 5G service to businesses and consumers well ahead of our competition," said the company's press release.

AT&T is promising customers and will receive access to the 5G variant of S10 later this spring, as well as another 5G smartphone from Samsung later this year, which we can only assume it now refers to either the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or a newer variant of S10 that supports both mmWave and the sub-6 spectrum, thanks to Qualcomm's new X55 chipset.

But to the only device that can access the network, is Netgear Nighthawk 5G Hotspot The device is only available to select business partners and some customers in their early 5G markets, but not in stores, not only that, but even if you, as a regular customer, would buy it without going through the AT&T testing program , that requires you to register You and your chosen, it costs $ 500. The Hotspot contains the Qualcomm X50 chip, which means it only supports short-term, mmWave 5G on the AT&T network. Presumably, AT&T is planning to launch an updated X55 hotspot later this year, supporting both broader coverage. (The X50 hardware supports both mmWave and sub-6 right now, but not AT&T's network architecture as it is designed today.)

AT&T is far from alone in muddy 5G water. Verizon may have the first commercial 5G handset as an exclusive network, but the company's 5G distribution is far less robust than AT&T. While AT & T first launched 5G in 12 cities last year, Verizon just started offering its version of service in "selected areas" in Chicago and Minneapolis.

The Verge went to the Illinois metropolis last week to try it out himself, and while the speeds were probably blazing fast, coverage was scary. You can also only access it using the midrange Motorola Moto Z3 with the 5G Moto Mod. Similarly, Verizon is only dependent on the card range, the mmWave spectrum, so you need to be physically nearby one of its 5G nodes in downtown Chicago to access it. Walk around the corner or lay a hard surface that is not made of glass between you and the node and you will probably fall back to LTE.

So both companies' 5G strategies are a bit of a marketing disaster right now, and certainly leads to serious confusion. 5G undoubtedly comes to a point in the next couple of years, with smartphones carrying proper 5G modems to support the standard and deliver the promised high speeds. But until now, AT&T and Verizon are running each other to the finish line in a race, only the two companies care about. Meanwhile, we as customers are stuck with stupid ploys like the imposed AT&T 5G E logo which, if you remember, is really not real 5G, but another trick that intends to make AT&T look like it is come forward faster than the company's rival.

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