America’s 5G AT&T network rollout has picked up momentum in recent months, with two major wireless providers now reaching the majority of American consumers.
5G is the latest generation of cellular technology. It offers speeds exceeding those of 4G and can even compete with fixed-line broadband connections. 5G also offers low latency, making it the ideal network infrastructure for self-driving cars and remote automated devices ranging from traffic cameras to medical devices.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) now joins T-Mobile as the second company that can claim to have a nationwide 5G network.
Two Networks, One Label
The Federal Communications Commission allows wireless providers to market a service as being ‘nationwide’ if it serves more than 200 million consumers. The naming is somewhat misleading, as it doesn’t actually relate to geographic coverage. AT&T’s 5G coverage is focused on major urban centers and the suburbs surrounding them, so consumers will have to live in or near cities to take advantage of the new networks.
There are also two distinct variants of 5G that the company is offering. Cities have the fastest networks, with higher speeds and lower latencies that make 5G appealing. Networks further out from city centers have a slower implementation of the technology that offers better range.
Not every device will work with both network types, so there could be some initial confusion for consumers. Currently, AT&T offers ten 5G enabled handsets, but only the LG V60 ThinQ and Samsung Galaxy S20 can operate on both the full speed and slower 5G networks. Handsets will fall back to existing 4G coverage when necessary.
From August 7, AT&T customers will be able to access 5G at no additional charge when using Elite, Extra, and Unlimited Starter plans.
Businesses on Elite, Performance, and Web-Only Starter plans will also have access to the faster download speeds.
AT&T Is Now A More Viable Investment
AT&T stock has declined almost 24% in the year to date, with earnings being mixed across different business segments. This latest news could create interest in the stock, especially for investors who are focused on the long term. The availability of 5G will drive mobile innovation and consumer/business spending in the coming years.
The stock is heavily discounted considering its 52-week high of $39.70. With a dividend yield of 6.96%, it’s a compelling income pick.
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