AT&T turns on 5G in New York, but it still isn't available to consumers

AT&T 5G has hit NYC, but as with its other 5G cities, access to the new network is currently limited to just business users and developers.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G | Mobile networks | Wireless carriers | Phones | Tablets | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms | Mobile | Console gaming
Eli Blumenthal
2 min read

AT&T 5G has hit the Big Apple. 

Angela Lang/CNET

AT&T  turned on 5G in New York City on Tuesday, but it still isn't making its speedy new network available to regular consumers. 

The new millimeter-wave network, or what AT&T calls "5G+," will be available in "parts" of New York City, though parts may be a bit of a stretch. In its release, AT&T acknowledges that the service will be in "limited areas initially" with a company spokesperson telling CNET that the new service will be available first in parts "near and around East Village, Greenwich Village and Gramercy Park." 

AT&T has multiple versions of 5G, with 5G+ denoting its super-fast but limited range millimeter-wave flavor. The company also has "sub-6" spectrum that covers wider areas but at slower speeds which it will simply call "5G." Both of those forms of actual 5G are different than 5GE, the rebranding of AT&T's improved but existing 4G network that is currently available across the country. 

"As a densely-populated, global business and entertainment hub, New York City stands to benefit greatly from having access to 5G, and we've been eager to introduce the service here," said Amy Kramer, president of AT&T's New York region, in a statement. "While our initial availability in NYC is a limited introduction at launch, we're committed to working closely with the City to extend coverage to more neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs."

Though limited in range, New York becomes the twenty-first city where AT&T has deployed 5G, extending the company's early lead in the 5G race over Verizon (nine cities), T-Mobile (six) and Sprint (five). Those rival carriers, however, are letting anyone use their respective networks, not just select businesses or developers. 

It is still unclear when AT&T will make 5G available to everyone, but the company plans to deploy a nationwide 5G network on its wider-ranging "sub-6" spectrum in the "first half of 2020." 

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