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AT&T to bring 5G to Air Force smart base

The base will use tech to "maintain its globally competitive edge in defending our freedoms," AT&T says.

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AT&T is bringing 5G to the Air Force.

Angela Lang/CNET

AT&T says it'll switch on its 5G network at Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle in early 2020. By combining the new network with connected devices, augmented reality, virtual reality, cloud and its dedicated first responder network FirstNet, AT&T is creating a "smart base of the future" for the US Air Force, the company said on Thursday.

Tyndall, which suffered damage during 2018's Hurricane Michael, is being completely rebuilt and modernized by AT&T tech. During the hurricane, AT&T said, Tyndall used FirstNet to reestablish comms within a few hours.

"The Air Force and AT&T share a vision for the smart base of the future ... to help our military maintain its globally competitive edge in defending our freedoms," said Xavier Williams, president of AT&T's Global Public Sector.

5G, the next-generation mobile technology, provides faster speeds, more capacity and lower latency -- the time it takes a stream or download to begin once you've requested it.

Read: When will cheap 5G come to the masses?

AT&T initially launched 5G in December in parts of Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Waco, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; and Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Oklahoma City. In April, AT&T expanded its 5G network to parts of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego; Austin, Texas; Orlando, Florida; and Nashville. AT&T then added 5G to Vegas at the end of June.

It's now also available in New York City; Austin, Texas; and Jacksonville, Orlando.