The residents of Lisbon, North Dakota, might have been surprised Monday night (Aug. 3) when the skies lit up letting people in the small town know “5G is here.”
The move expands its 5G footprint by 30 percent, covering nearly 250 million people in more than 7,500 communities across 1.3 million square miles. It brings 5G deeper into buildings and sets the stage for future applications, T-Mobile said.
“Since Sprint became part of T-Mobile, we’ve been rapidly combining networks ... expanding our nationwide 5G footprint, and today we take a massive step into the future with standalone 5G architecture,” said Neville Ray, president of technology of the Bellevue, Washington-based mobile company, in the release. “This is where it gets interesting, opening the door for massive innovation in this country...”
T-Mobile engineers said they already saw up to a 40 percent improvement in service during testing with 5G, according to the release.
To make what T-Mobile calls the world’s first nationwide commercial 5G network a reality, it partnered with Cisco and Nokia to build its 5G core and Ericsson and Nokia for 5G radio infrastructure. OnePlus, Qualcomm Technologies and Samsung ensured existing devices can access SA 5G with a software update.
The company said 5G access will be added to its Unlimited Starter wireless plan for consumers and to AT&T Business Unlimited Web Only and Starter plans beginning Friday (Aug. 7).
The signal offers immediate benefits, AT&T said, including nationwide connectivity, fast downloads and short lag time for on-demand entertainment and mobile games. There are also increased capacity capabilities that bring more bandwidth that can handle many devices at once.
“Just as our lives have shifted in the past few months, so has our expectation of wireless technology,” said AT&T Communications CEO Jeff McElfresh in a statement. “With AT&T 5G reaching nationwide, our network is beginning the journey to transform connectivity as we know it by setting a new bar of breathtaking experiences and improved efficiency.”