AT&T made a “major” announcement on their website that they have started their 5G Evolution as they are doing an initial rollout in Austin, Texas for Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices. However, industry experts are saying it’s just a fake 5G network since the infrastructure for this next generation network is still being built and/or tested out. What they say that the carrier is actually offering is a re-branded or enhanced 4G which may be slightly faster than their current speeds but is still not the promised 5G.
If you read through their press release, they’re actually quite careful about the wording, using 5G Evolution instead of just 5G. There is also a disclaimer at the bottom (although people probably don’t read until the end anymore) that the information there is made up of “forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially.”
But they are claiming that by the end of the year, they will bring their 5G Evolution to 20 major metro areas in the US. For now, it will be available in select areas in Austin and only for those who have Samsung’s newly-released flagship devices. They said users can access twice the speed of their current 4G LTE networks, which will probably not reach 1GB speeds that true 5G should bring.
Now as to when 5G will actually arrive, that is still a complicated question. The infrastructure needed is different from 4G, that is why carriers are having a hard time to set up new networks. But the International Telecommunications Union says that the specifications is expected to be finalized in late 2017. Until then, AT&T will plug their 5G Evolution and people will probably be confused.