AT&T is jumping on the 5G bandwagon in full force, including announcing an upcoming 5G smartphone from Samsung earlier this week.
But wait, the big blue carrier isn’t done just yet! It turns out that AT&T is also going to launch a second Samsung smartphone equipped with 5G connectivity — and this one’s going to be even better than the first! That’s right, AT&T has announced that it will be launching a second Samsung 5G smartphone in the second half of 2019, and unlike the first one, this one will be capable of accessing the sub-6GHz spectrum as well as mmWave.
So, what makes this important? The sub-6GHz spectrum and mmWave offer up their own strengths and weaknesses, but combining them makes for the best possible phone. That first phone that AT&T (and the other carriers, it seems like) is going to offer will not be capable of accessing the sub-6GHz spectrum, which means it won’t be able to access even wider coverage using existing spectrum. The sub-6GHz spectrum is great for access in buildings.
However, mmWave is capable of those incredibly fast speeds (up to 1Gbps) and ultra low-latency, but it’s not great at penetrating buildings. So you can see why a smartphone with both of these connectivity technologies baked in is the optimal choice, rather than a 5G phone with just one.
AT&T should have made this announcement first and should just skip the first phone entirely. No one should buy the early 2019 option when there is an obviously better variant coming down the pipe later in the year.