AT&T said on Thursday that its 5G network is now available nationwide. The company says its 5G is now available to more than 205 million consumers in 395 coverage markets across the US.
Customers on its Unlimited Starter wireless plan and Unlimited Web-Only and Starter business plans will receive access to 5G on August 7th at no additional cost. AT&T’s Extra and Elite consumer plans and Performance and Elite business plans already included 5G access. Prepaid plan customers can buy a 5G-enabled device on its Unlimited Plus plan.
“Our strategy of deploying 5G in both sub-6 (5G) and mmWave (5G+) spectrum bands will provide the best mix of speeds, latency and coverage that are needed to enable revolutionary new capabilities to fuel 5G experiences for consumers and businesses,” AT&T vice president of technology operations Chris Sambar said in a statement.
Both AT&T and rival Verizon have faced challenges about previous 5G claims; last year, the National Advertising Review Board recommended AT&T stop using its “5G Evolution” branding for its 4G networks because the claims could mislead customers into thinking they were actually getting 5G. AT&T agreed to stop using the branding for advertising and marketing campaigns, but it said it wouldn’t remove the “5G E” logo from smartphones. And just last week, National Advertising Division recommended Verizon stop making claims about its 5G coverage and speed, which it said were misleading about where 5G would be widely available.
AT&T reported its second quarter earnings on Thursday, with earnings per share of $0.83 on revenue of $41 billion. It had 171.4 million wireless subscribers, an increase from the 158.6 million customers it reported in the year-ago quarter.
The coronavirus pandemic hit all of AT&T’s business segments in the second quarter, the company reported. Operating revenue at WarnerMedia was down nearly 23 percent, to $6.8 billion. Revenue for its Warner Bros. division was down 3.9 percent to $3.3 billion due partly to “the absence of theatrical releases and lower games and other revenues.”
Its HBO Max segment, which launched in May, already has 4 million customers, and AT&T CEO John Stankey said HBO and HBO Max added a combined 36.3 million subscribers by the end of last month, a 5 percent increase from the end of 2019.