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AT&T adds three more cities to mobile 5G rollout plan

The carrier has named half the markets it expects to roll out the super speedy network to this year.

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AT&T adds three more US cities to its 5G rollout plan.
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AT&T is thinking big -- and midsize -- when it comes to its rollout plan for mobile 5G.

The wireless giant said Friday it's added Oklahoma City, as well as Charlotte and Raleigh, both in North Carolina, to the list of cities slated to get access to AT&T's super speedy network this year. The three join Atlanta, Dallas and Waco, Texas, as part of the dozen markets that are supposed to get 5G from AT&T this year.

AT&T said it's deliberately choosing medium-size markets in addition to large ones.

"One competitor recently boasted 'New York matters more than Waco' when discussing their future plans," AT&T said in a statement, referring to comments made by a T-Mobile executive earlier this year. "We politely disagree -- all Americans should have access to next-gen connectivity to avoid a new digital divide."

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The announcement marks another step toward actually deploying the next generation of wireless technology, which promises heightened speeds, superior responsiveness and better coverage. 5G is seen as the foundational technology for other areas like self-driving cars and streaming virtual reality, and it starts with these early deployments.

Verizon also plans to launch limited mobile 5G service this year, while T-Mobile and Sprint are setting things up now for a commercial launch early next year. Handset makers and chipmakers are working to get devices ready for 2019 as well.

AT&T has said that the first 5G devices this year will be "pucks," or mobile hot spots. The first 5G-capable phones are slated to come early next year.

More cities slated to get AT&T's 5G are expected to be announced in the coming months.

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