AT&T previously announced that it planned to launch a nationwide 5G in the first half of 2020. With the coronavirus disrupting the world, that timeline moved toward. Monday's news, however, brings the carrier much closer to reaching that goal.
For AT&T, a nationwide 5G network means covering 200 million people. While ahead of Verizon, which currently only has 5G on a (plus some NFL stadiums) around the country with its faster millimeter-wave flavor of 5G, rival T-Mobile turned on a nationwide 5G network using its similar low-band spectrum last December. T-Mobile recently announced that
Low-band 5G currently offers speeds that are largely equivalent to a strong 4G LTE connection (what AT&T calls "5GE") but does so with significantly better coverage than other flavors . AT&T also offers faster millimeter-wave 5G, what it calls 5G Plus, in parts of 35 cities.
A 5G-capable wireless plan, either Unlimited Extra or Unlimited Elite, is required by the carrier to access the new network. You also will need a 5G-capable device.
On Monday AT&T also announced that it would be selling. At $600, the new Samsung device is AT&T's cheapest 5G phone to date.