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AT&T expands 5G network to cover over 160 million people in 327 markets

The carrier is making progress toward a nationwide 5G network.

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Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A71 5G will be AT&T's most affordable 5G phone yet. 

Samsung

AT&T's low-band 5G network is growing, expanding on Monday to now cover over 160 million people in 327 markets. Among the new areas that can now tap into 5G are Atlanta, Baton Rouge and Nashville. 

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 having a nationwide 5G network by the end of the summer. 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 handful of streets in 35 cities (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 it now has 5G coverage available in all 50 states.

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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 such as midband or millimeter-wave 5G. 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 Samsung's new Galaxy A71 5G on July 10. At $600, the new Samsung device is AT&T's cheapest 5G phone to date.