AT&T promised in January to launch mobile 5G service in a dozen cities by the end of the year, though without naming any of them at the time. It later named three of them, and has now added the next three …

It said in February that Dallas, Atlanta and Waco were all in line to get access to the high-speed data service, and has today added Charlotte, Raleigh and Oklahoma City to the list.

We’re deliberately launching with a mix of big and mid-sized cities. One competitor recently boasted “New York matters more than Waco” when discussing their future plans. We politely disagree – all Americans should have access to next-gen connectivity to avoid a new digital divide.

A perhaps more likely explanation is that the carrier would like to gain experience of how the service goes with a variety of different population sizes before a wider roll-out.

While the term 5G has a somewhat loose definition, AT&T says that it will be adhering to the stricter 3GPP industry standards, though the company admits that the ‘multi-gigabit’ claim it made earlier is a ‘theoretical peak speed.’

Sprint has also named the first US cities to get 5G on its own network.

It’s not yet known when Apple will choose to support 5G, but the company has filed a number of patent applications for the technology, and has been carrying out tests. It has also urged the FCC to leave the ‘super-high’ radio spectrum available for both 5G and subsequent innovation.

One challenge for wide-scale rollout is that the range of millimeter wave 5G is much closer to Wi-Fi than it is to conventional LTE networks, meaning that many more base stations are required. This is being addressed by the development of so-called ‘small cells‘ for installation everywhere from street lamps to stores.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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