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AT&T's oft-delayed C-Band 5G services go live in eight cities

The carrier's first C-Band markets finally go live, promising both increased 5G speeds and expansive coverage ranges.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

AT&T's first 5G markets to use C-Band frequencies are now live in cities across the central and eastern US.

Following a six-week pause on its original launch plans, another two-week delay, and a last-minute agreement to halt any launches near airports to alleviate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fears over C-Band's interference with radio altimeters, the service is finally going live.

AT&T's newest 5G technology is now available in a total of eight metro areas: Austin, Chicago, Dallas Ft. Worth, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Orlando, and South Florida.

The new technology is expected to improve upon AT&T's existing mmWave-based 5G by providing "a great combination of ultra-fast speeds and wide geographic coverage." While mmWave is also able to provide fast transfer rates, its reliance on higher frequencies limits its range when compared to C-Band deployments.

AT&T noted that it currently has a total of 17 devices available to customers that can take advantage of the newly-launched frequency. Despite the aforementioned difficulties it had in reaching this initial launch wave, AT&T intends to continue moving forward with additional C-Band rollouts throughout 2022 via a "thoughtful and efficient deployment" strategy.

None of these debuts are likely to be adjacent to any US airports for the time being. That will require a final word from the warring US regulatory agencies that have, so far, been unable to settle on a single stance surrounding C-Band's potential impact on aviation hardware.

As with AT&T's mmWave-based 5G, customers connected to one of the speedier new towers will see a "5G+" indicator for their service, as opposed to the "5G" towers that exist over a much larger swath of the US.  

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