AT&T is launching its first true 5G phone, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, on June 17th. Though, don’t get too excited; you’ll only be able to get your hands on one if you’re part of AT&T’s developer program, or are an AT&T Business customer.
The 5G-ready phone, which first debuted last month for Verizon subscribers who live in cities that support its 5G service, will cost business users $999. It will also be made available to developers for free at AT&T’s Shape conference in Los Angeles on June 22nd. Today’s announcement makes makes no mention of when consumers will be able to get their hands on Samsung’s phone, or how much it will cost when, or if, it does. It’s possible that the Galaxy Note 10 could be first 5G-ready device to be publicly available for all AT&T customers, since it’s rumored to support both mmWave and sub-6 spectrum.
In an unusual moment of correctly setting expectations, AT&T mentions in its release that business users and developers will only be able to experience 5G in “very limited parts” of AT&T’s first batch of cities. As we saw during our hands on with the S10 5G in Chicago, mmWave spectrum on Verizon’s network is quite limited, indeed, though it’s also very capable under the right circumstances. AT&T apparently just needs a few beta testers to make sure that it’s on the right track.
The Verge’s Chris Welch tested it out and saw gigabit download speeds, which is a boon for downloading a bunch of videos very quickly. Good as these results are, they hinge completely on being in line-of-sight with a 5G node.
Downloaded Iron Man 2 from Prime Video at “best” quality in 90 seconds. You can see here that Verizon’s network occasionally fell back to 4G LTE. I’m right across the street from the 5G node. pic.twitter.com/TAh2YgmzwD
— Chris Welch (@chriswelch) May 16, 2019
Until the S10 5G is made more widely available, the only “5G” devices AT&T customers have access to are ones that support the carrier’s misleadingly-named “5Ge” service, which is really just LTE Advanced. Devices that can work on AT&T 5Ge include recent iPhones and a handful of Android handsets.