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AT&T’s 5G network comes to NYC, but not for regular customers

AT&T’s 5G network comes to NYC, but not for regular customers


Technically, it’s the 21st city with AT&T’s 5G network

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Illustration of the AT&T logo on a dark blue background.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

AT&T technically launched 5G service in New York City today, but as with its other 5G markets, only business customers and developers will be able to access it. The carrier is selling Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G for those who want to utilize its millimeter wave-based 5G data speeds. AT&T is calling the launch a “limited introduction” and a “first step” for now, but it boasts that this is the 21st city where the company has launched its network.

Despite technically being the first US provider to launch its 5G network last year, AT&T is lagging behind Verizon when it comes to offering a 5G service that regular people can sign up for. Verizon’s 5G network is now available in a total of nine cities, and the company plans to expand to over 30 by the end of the year. However, even Verizon’s network is having difficulties reaching people, thanks to its reliance on the short-range mmWave technology, which means that you can only connect to its network in very limited parts of each city. But where you do get service, data speeds can be mind-blowingly fast.

The coverage of AT&T’s latest 5G deployment may be limited and it might only be available to businesses, but at least today’s announcement is about an actual 5G network instead of the “5GE” network, which is how the company is misleadingly referring to its 4G network. AT&T tried to claim that 5GE was a stop-gap between 4G and 5G that would offer significant advantages over current 4G technology, but the evidence paints a different story: real-world tests suggest that the network was no faster — in some cases, it was slower — than competing 4G services.