AT&T Plans to Launch Nationwide 5G Network in the First Half of 2020


AT&T has announced it is expected to launch a nationwide 5G mobile network in the first half of next year.

The operator said it has now completed 60% of the 700MHz 4G public safety FirstNet deployment, which is 5G-ready for AT&T’s low-band spectrum deployment in 2020.

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‘We’re on track for nationwide 5G in the first half of next year,’ said CEO Randall Stephenson on the operator’s second-quarter earnings conference call. At the moment, the carrier has its high-band 39GHz millimeter-wave networks up in 20 markets in the US.


However, Randall Stephenson is particularly optimistic about its FirstNet deployment for 5G. ‘It’s allowing us to deploy this 5G hardware with one touch on the cell site.’ He said that FirstNet deployments are expected to be 70% by the end of the year.

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AT&T will continue to deploy millimeter-wave networks in different markets, even if it plans to cover low-band coverage nationwide.

‘It will take a while to deploy our really high-speed spectrum,” Randall Stephenson said. He pointed out that users will get a “real speed increase” through the 1 Gbit/s connection speed brought by the millimeter-wave network.

Randall Stephenson said that 5G will continue to be “business-driven” for the time being, including projects like the 5G Innovation Zone in Austin. AT&T currently only sells 5G terminal equipment to some companies and developers.

As more 5G smartphones are coming next year, the number of users will begin to increase. ‘As we exit next year, there will be a dozen [5G] handsets,’ he said.

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AT&T Performance

In terms of performance, AT&T’s revenue in the second quarter of 2019 was $44.9 billion, up from $39 billion in the same period last year. Adjusted earnings per share were 89 cents, which was lower than last year’s 91 cents per share. AT&T’s net profit for the quarter was $3.7 billion.


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