Technology Blog

We are aggressively testing and preparing our network for C-Band spectrum

By now, you most likely know what 5G is. With more than 250 million Americans covered by our nationwide 5G, there’s also a good chance you’ve experienced it. We built “America’s Most Reliable 5G Network1,” and will continue expanding coverage so your experience is the best it can be. That’s why we will soon offer you even more flavors of 5G!

Our newest? It’s 5G+ flavored and comes from spectrum called C-Band. If you’re a tech enthusiast, you may have heard of it.  If you haven’t, it means even faster speeds to stream, upload and download content in more areas. For the telecom industry, it means more innovation for the future.

We’re talking about immersive fan experiences for sporting events and gaming. With 5G+ you may soon be able to have a private concert with your favorite musical artist – right from your living room! Parents can download new augmented reality reading experiences for their children at lightning speed. For long trips, you will be able to quickly download movies, TV shows, podcasts, music and books all while you’re waiting to board that plane to your vacation destination.

Here’s the techy stuff:

AT&T currently offers two types of 5G: the ultra-responsive, ultra-fast 5G+ over high band mmWave spectrum, which is live in parts of 39 cities and more than 20 venues and entertainment districts, and the more widespread, 5G over the low band Sub-6GHz. Back in February, we acquired 80 MHz of C-Band spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission, which is mid band and sits between mmWave and Sub-6GHz at between 3.7 and 4 GHz. This can help our 5G network get closer to its full potential and deliver the faster and increased connectivity that customers need.   

Over the last eight months our teams have been in the field aggressively testing and working to build the network to put the spectrum in use to enhance your experience so you can enjoy things like augmented and virtual reality. That means, we’re pumping up the entire ecosystem as we prepare for our planned December launch.

To help make that a reality, we’ve announced five-year agreements with Ericsson and Nokia to accelerate the expansion of AT&T 5G. This will help support our C-Band spectrum deployment.

Have a 5G Device?

We know not everyone has a 5G-enabled device yet and aren’t able to enjoy the benefits of lower-latency connections just yet.  Our goal is to have multiple devices online and available for customers across the board when we light up our C-Band spectrum later this year.

Manufacturers are developing more 5G capable devices all the time, which will eventually give you the opportunity to experience all of AT&T’s 5G flavors.

And how will you know if you are in an area with the faster C-Band or mmWave 5G? You’ll see an indicator that simply shows “5G+.”

Looking ahead

We continue to put our customers at the center of everything we do. We continue to build and enhance our network to give you the best experience available. In just a couple of months, we’ll begin deploying that C-Band we acquired in February. By the end of next year, we expect to cover 70-75 million people across the U.S., and up to 200 million in 2023. That’s just one way we’re committing to keep you connected wherever you are.

1GWS: Based on nationwide GWS drive test data. GWS conducts paid drive tests for AT&T and uses the data in its analysis.