AT&T has added 5G to 28 more markets, bringing the total population covered to 179 million people across 355 markets. Some areas of the new markets are using dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), in which the same channel can be used for 4G and 5G.
The launches are in Florida (4 markets), Puerto Rico (7 markets) and Texas (5 markets). Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Utah have 1 market each. Minnesota has two – one wholly within the state and one that crosses into North Dakota. Coverage within markets is limited and typically does not extend to the entire market.
The spectrum sharing capabilities of DSS enables carriers to offer 4G and 5G according to demand. This creates a seamless experience for customers, increases spectrum use efficiency and creates an intelligent and robust network, the carrier said.
“DSS is an important stepping stone on our path to nationwide 5G,” Igal Elbaz, AT&T’s senior vice president of wireless and access technology, said in a press release. “We were the first U.S. carrier to deploy this technology in our network, and it’s now playing an important role as we work toward a nationwide 5G footprint this summer.”
In May, AT&T said it was deploying 5G in 137 additional U.S. markets. This brought the company’s total to 327 markets covering more than 160 million people.
The race for 5G coverage is in high gear and to a great extent is following the template carriers chose when the technology was in its earliest development phases. In mid-May, Verizon said that it will deploy its 5G network nationwide this year. The carrier to date has a smaller footprint because it prioritized higher spectrum mmWave technology that delivers faster speeds but has limited coverage. AT&T and T-Mobile, conversely, combined millimeter and lower bandwidth spectrum and have wider coverage, though much of it is at lower speeds.