AT&T, Verizon each expand 5G service to new markets

AT&T and Verizon have each expanded their respective 5G reach, launching service in additional cities ahead of the new year.  

AT&T has doubled the number of markets where its 5G service using low-band spectrum is available, deploying in 10 more cities since its mid-December launch. That brings AT&T’s 5G tally to 20, including the new markets of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Louisville; Boston; Baltimore; Detroit; Las Vegas; Buffalo, New York; New York City; and Philadelphia.  

The carrier’s low-band 5G is meant to provide broader coverage and AT&T has pledged nationwide service by the first half of 2020.  With the launch of its service using 850 MHz spectrum, AT&T finally opened up 5G to consumer customers, who will need a compatible Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G device.

RELATED: AT&T turns on 5G in 10 markets using low band

AT&T’s low-band 5G is not to be confused with its 5G+ service, which uses high-band millimeter wave spectrum that delivers massive capacity and super-fast speeds. That service first debuted at the end of 2018 and is now live in limited parts of more than 20 markets, but still only available to business customers.

Verizon, meanwhile, surpassed its goal of 30 mobile 5G cities by the end of the year, adding three more markets to the list last week for a total of 31.  The latest areas to get Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service are Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and Hampton Road, Virginia.

“We said we would lead in 5G and we are,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer at Verizon, in a statement.

In Columbus, users will also be able to access Verizon’s 5G service at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport in parts of the airport’s main ticketing area. Verizon said this marks the first U.S. airport with live commercial 5G service.

RELATED: Verizon races to get 5G to all 30 markets by year’s end

While competitors like AT&T and T-Mobile are pursuing low-band 5G deployments for greater reach, Verizon remains focused on its high-band millimeter wave approach, though that means service deployments are limited to pockets of dense urban areas.   Speaking to FierceWireless earlier this month Nicki Palmer, SVP of technology and product development reiterated the carrier’s push on mmWave.

“It’s doing a lot more than what we thought, and we’re really bullish on the technology,” Palmer said at the time, adding “We believe that provides a fantastic experience for consumers and businesses alike.”

In related news, Verizon last week also expanded 5G service to its 16th NFL stadium and fifth indoor arena, lighting up mobile 5G in professional football and hockey venues in Buffalo, New York.

This is in line with the carrier’s strategy to deploy 5G in public spaces and major venues that attract big crowds and therefore have large capacity needs. Verizon is aiming to get all 32 NFL stadiums on air by the end of 2021.

In addition to more bandwidth and speed for consumers, Verizon said teams, vendors and other businesses supporting events could also use the mobile 5G service to deliver “a differentiated experience for spectators and participants alike.”