As announced on Tuesday, 4 December, AT&T Inc. will launch its own version of a Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. 5G smartphone in spring 2019. It looks as if 2019 will be the year of 5G wireless connectivity so it shouldn't be a surprise that AT&T has officially announced they will be selling a 5G compatible Samsung smartphone during the first half of 2019 as well.
To offer the fastest speeds with the lowest latency, AT&T will initially deploy its 5G network on a millimeter-wave spectrum (mmWave). Intel, Qualcomm, and Samsung have created their own 5G modems with each having their own strengths. Since the modems have been created and are ready to go into commercial products it is only left with wireless carriers upgrading their current networks.
Previously, the carrier announced a Netgear Nighthawk 5G mobile hotspot that uses mmWave technology. This will become available later this month and will work in the 12 cities which will get 5G coverage by the end of the year. Then in the first half of next year, 7 additional cities will join in.
This type of service and technology is useless without commercial products that can take advantage of it. The company does say they are on track to release the world's first mmWave mobile 5G device this month, but the average customer is looking for major smartphones that will be able to leverage 5G technology. AT&T did not mention the Qualcomm modem by name like Verizon, but it's safe to assume this will also be the Galaxy S10.
Yesterday, Verizon also announced a partnership with Samsung to launch a 5G smartphone during the first six months of 2019, likely its own version of the 5G Galaxy S10. Moreover, AT&T is also working on another project with Samsung using 5G for the next generation smart factories where robots and sensors will use real-time communication channels enabled by the new higher bandwidth and lower latency standard.