AT&T® started updating connectivity icons on certain phones to show a “5GE” logo when people connect to certain parts of its network that deliver quicker speeds, but some people in the industry have criticized its marketing push by terming it as “Fake 5G”. However, Walter Piecyk of BTIG said that the more significant takeaway is the Dallas-based telecommunications company is deploying 60 Megahertz of new spectrum in 2019, which “if implemented properly” should mean customer experience significantly quicker data speeds as well as better performance when the icon shows up.
Piecyk said that 5GE provides the Telco giant with an opportunity to best rival Verizon®. In December 2018, AT&T® announced its 5G mobile network’s launch, but the service is first available only to certain subscribers in select parts of a dozen US cities on a free trial basis.
The BTIG analyst wrote in a blog post, “The broad availability of ‘real 5G’ could be years away, providing AT&T® with a window of opportunity to surpass Verizon’s historical dominance as the wireless network leader in the United States.”
The Dallas-based fastest internet provider is deploying the multiple spectrum bands it has acquired over the years, comprising FirstNet®, WCS, and AWS, at the same time on macro towers, as part of the company’s “one truck roll” strategy, noted Walter Piecyk.
He pointed to remarks made by AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson in 2018, when the CEO said adding up to sixty Gigahertz of the spectrum to its towers simultaneously would enhance its whole wireless network capacity by fifty percent over the subsequent 14 months.
Piecyk wrote, “The bigger picture is that AT&T’s network is getting a big lift. Whether it’s 40 MHz or 60 MHz in a given location, this network investment is meaningful relative to the ~100 MHz of spectrum used by AT&T® today and its ongoing conversions of 10-15 MHz of existing spectrum from 3G to LTE.”
Besides quicker speeds, AT&T® could move into US markets dominated historically by Verizon® as it extends network coverage as well as distribution channels as part of its FirstNet® agreement, which comprises its FirstNet® network coverage commitments. The Telco earlier discussed plans to enhance its retail presence by a thousand shops, many of which, Piecyk said, will open in smaller markets that have been led by the wireless provider historically.