As AT&T and Verizon prepare to debut their newer, faster 5G networks later this month, more information about which gadgets will operate with the new network has been available. We already got Verizon’s list, and now we have AT&T’s as well.
The company confirmed to CMT on Tuesday that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lines, as well as the Galaxy S21 range, Galaxy Z Flip 3, and Galaxy Z Fold 3, will all function with C-band (or AT&T’s 5G Plus) when the new network launches, as long as the devices are up to speed with software upgrades. In addition, the Galaxy S21 FE 5G, Galaxy A13 5G, and 5G-capable iPads will all be able to use the new 5G network.
AT&T says it will add more devices to the list as software upgrades become ready, but, like Verizon, it won’t identify which ones or when they’ll be accessible. It will also release new gadgets “frequently throughout the year” that “enable C-band.”
AT&T’s current 5G network, like Verizon’s, is based on a mix of millimeter-wave and low-band spectrum technologies. Millimeter-wave has good performance but limited reach, with coverage generally limited to specific street corners or areas of stadiums, airports, or arenas. Low-band coverage is good, but its performance is often on par with, if not better than, 4G LTE.
With the addition of C-band, AT&T will deploy a 5G network that functions in the center, providing substantially better coverage than millimeter-wave while delivering far quicker performance than low-band 5G. Last year, the carrier spent more than $27 billion to buy wireless airwaves to expand its network.
While Verizon has begun publicizing its upcoming expansion, AT&T has been far coyer about its C-band intentions. Unlike its competitor, which intends to serve 100 million people with the new signal this month, AT&T plans to cover 70-75 million people by the end of the year, thanks to its purchased spectrum. In “early” 2023, it wants to expand its presence to encompass more than 100 million people.
Those on AT&T who want to use the new network will need to make sure they have the proper plan, be in the right location, and have the right equipment. Last year, AT&T offered 5G connectivity to nearly all of its unlimited consumer plans, including older plans like Unlimited Choice, Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited and More.