AT&T taunts Verizon and T-Mobile while touting its latest 5G achievements and goals

AT&T taunts Verizon and T-Mobile while touting its latest 5G achievements and goals

Just 48 hours after leveling the playing field with one of its two big rivals while trumping the other as far as “unlimited elite” plan perks are concerned, AT&T is delivering a “5G infrastructure update” today meant primarily to highlight its competitive advantages over Verizon and T-Mobile.

If you’ve ever heard an industry analyst talk about the three’s progress towards their common goal of leaving 4G LTE technology behind in favor of a newer and (eventually) faster type of mobile connectivity, you probably know it’s not easy to make Ma Bell’s “5G infrastructure” look good.

Both “nationwide” 5G and 5G+ are growing but is the pace fast enough?

Taking a page from T-Mobile’s old playbook, AT&T is naming and shaming both of its top adversaries, pointing the finger at Verizon for “building one type of 5G network” and boasting mmWave 5G feats that Magenta can’t match.
Specifically, AT&T expects to cover “parts of more than 40 cities and 40 venues” with blazing fast 5G+ technology “by the end of 2021”, up from “parts of 38 cities and 20 venues across the US” right now.

That… doesn’t exactly sound like a very massive expansion of a truly revolutionary service that leaves 4G LTE in the dust, and in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t compare particularly favorably to Verizon’s mmWave-based 5G Ultra Wideband deployment, which hit a grand total of 60 cities last year and will undoubtedly stay ahead of AT&T’s 5G+ rollout in 2021 as well.

Fortunately for Ma Bell, the operator has much bigger numbers to tout when it comes to its “nationwide” 5G availability. Namely, there are “more than” 250 million people across the country (theoretically) covered at the time of this writing (at least allegedly), up from 230 million just four months ago. 

While it’s definitely impressive to hear that AT&T has therefore managed to hit its “end-of-year goal 6 months early”, said figure still trails the 300 million people covered by T-Mobile’s own nationwide 5G signal as of last month. 

AT&T’s big C-band ambitions are overshadowed by T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G achievements

The problem is T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G network already covers 150 million people, largely relying on mid-band spectrum gained from last year’s completed Sprint merger. Meanwhile, AT&T hopes to reach anywhere between 70 and 75 million people by the end of next year and 200 million before 2023 wraps up with C-band technology aiming to strike a similar balance between speed and coverage.

By no means a small feat considering its much later start in that particular field, said ambitions don’t exactly back up AT&T’s sudden penchant for anti-competitive derision. The carrier is also making a lot of intentionally vague and overly hyperbolic statements about how its 5G network is “already” giving customers the “full experience.”

A full experience, of course, would be one where low, mid, and high-band 5G come together to deliver flawless coverage and truly mind-blowing speeds on a literally nationwide scale, and that’s not something US carriers will actually be able to offer for a fairly long time going forward.

Besides, if there’s anyone that can pull something like that off ahead of the competition, that’s probably T-Mobile as opposed to AT&T.



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