AT&T customers in 12 cities can start using its new super-fast 5G network this week, if you buy a $500 5G hotspot

att nyc thumbThe front of an AT&T shop in New York.AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

  • AT&T will become the first US carrier to roll out a mobile 5G network, starting on Friday.
  • AT&T's mobile 5G network will only be available in 12 cities to start with, with seven additional cities in the first half of 2019.
  • Since no mobile devices currently support 5G networks, AT&T's 5G service will be accessible via a mobile hotspot made by Netgear, priced at $500.

Certain AT&T customers will be able to use the internet on the carrier's new 5G network starting this Friday in 12 cities across seven US states, making it the first domestic carrier to roll out a commercially available mobile 5G service.

In the spring of 2019, AT&T customers who live in cities that support AT&T's 5G network will be able to buy a 5G mobile hotspot, made by Netgear, for $500. The 5G service plan itself will include 15GB of data for $70 per month.

Verizon rolled out its own 5G service in September, also to a select few cities, but it differs from AT&T - Verizon's service is designed for home internet, rather than mobile devices.

The 12 cities involved in AT&T's rollout include Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh in North Carolina; Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Waco in Texas; Indianapolis in Indiana; Jacksonville in Florida; Louisville in Kentucky; Oklahoma City in Oklahoma; and New Orleans in Louisiana.

AT&T plans to roll out its 5G mobile network to seven more cities in the first half of 2019, including Las Vegas, Nevada; Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose, California; Nashville, Tennessee; and Orlando, Florida.

As of the time of writing, there are no mobile devices that support 5G networks. Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm confirmed with Verizon, AT&T, and Samsung that mobile devices with 5G support will be released in early 2019. For now, customers will only be available to connect their mobile devices to AT&T's 5G network via the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot.

Nighthawk netgear att 5gNetgear/AT&T

With a new 5G service comes new plans. The service and 5G mobile hotspot will be free of charge for "select businesses and consumers" for the first 90 days, before the $70/month pricing kicks in.

5G is the evolution of the current mobile 4G LTE network that delivers internet data to mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and hotspot devices. It's said that 5G will deliver significantly faster data speeds and less latency than 4G LTE, allowing for faster and quicker access to data for web browsing, streaming, and general data usage within apps. A website, for example, should appear almost instantaneously rather than showing any signs of loading.

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