Those of us with modern smartphones know that 4G LTE networks have provided us with a phenomenal experience. One light years beyond what we had access to before. For some time, AT&T has been teasing its dive into the next iteration of network speeds, agonizingly doing so without any specific dates for when they would actually deliver. But today, AT&T confirmed what they call the "5G Evolution," and it's available now.
AT&T previously announced this new network back in January. The company boasted that their new network connection reached speeds of up to 14 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) in trials, and provided connections with less than three milliseconds of latency, beating the industry standard for 5G of less than five milliseconds.
The catch is that the network is only available in one city: Austin, Texas. In fact, it's only available in select areas of that city. Those outside the booming tech destination of Austin hoping to experience new speed hikes on their smartphones will have to wait for the technology to come to them.
But AT&T may have a problem on their hands; "5G Evolution" may not be true 5G at all. As The Verge reports, based on the information provided in AT&T's press briefing, the technology being used to reach "5G" speeds is the same technology companies like T-Mobile have already been using to improve LTE speeds.
AT&T's is careful to only refer to the new service as '5G Evolution,' describing it as part of a 'foundation for our evolution to 5G while the 5G standards are being finalized.' But ultimately, it's branding that serves to mask the fact that AT&T is just rolling out network technology that its competitors have been using for months, while confusing consumers into believing that its at head of the pack.
If you're still interested in the 'new' technology, AT&T has plans to bring 5G Evolution to Indianapolis next, at an unspecified time this summer. Other cities slated to receive the new network include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, and San Francisco. In all, AT&T already has plans to include 20 metropolitan areas in the service.
Even if you live in one of these select cities, you won't be able to access the '5G' connection with just any smartphone, as AT&T states the network is only available to the new Galaxy S8 and S8+. If you are someone who wants the 'newest' connections possible, you will have to pick up one of these two phones before streaming and downloading as fast as AT&T will let you.