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Samsung will make a 5G smartphone for AT&T too

Samsung and AT&T will partner as well on a 5G "innovation zone" focused on manufacturing technology.

AT&T storefront

AT&T will sell a 5G Samsung smartphone.

Richard Levine/Getty

Verizon Wireless isn't the only one jumping on the Samsung 5G bandwagon. AT&T wants in too.

AT&T, the nation's second-largest wireless carrier, announced Tuesday that, starting in the spring, it will carry a 5G Samsung smartphone. In addition, the Dallas-based carrier said it would work with Samsung to create a 5G "innovation zone" focused on manufacturing technology. The company has been deploying such 5G zones around the country to focus on different applications of the next-generation cellular technology.

On Monday, Verizon and Samsung said they plan to bring a 5G smartphone to the US market in the first half of 2019.  An AT&T spokeswoman confirmed that it would carry the same commercial device as Verizon. Samsung plans to show off a mock device to show off its 5G capabilities at a Qualcomm Snapdragon event in Hawaii.

The planned Samsung phone is the second 5G device announced by AT&T, following a Netgear Wi-Fi hotspot that the company has tested (and that it will launch later this year). In the race to 5G, AT&T is seen as the likely leader with the launch of a mobile 5G network in a dozen markets by the end of 2018. 

5G's higher speeds and improved responsiveness are seen providing a critical foundational technology powering other trends like artificial intelligence and self-driving cars. As a result, the hype over 5G has reached a fevered pitch, with the technology poised to become commercially available (at least to some) in the coming weeks. The technology will be more broadly available as the carriers roll out their upgraded networks over the next few years.

In addition to the 12 markets this year, AT&T plans to roll out 5G in another seven markets in the first half of 2019.

Samsung, meanwhile, figures to play a critical role in 5G, both with smartphones and with networking equipment. The Samsung Galaxy S10, for instance, is expected to be one of the first flagship smartphones with 5G, although mobile chief DJ Koh has hinted at another 5G-specific device to launch even earlier than that.

The 5G revolution is just around the corner: And Qualcomm will give us the best glimpse yet.

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