The option to move to a 5G network is closer than you think. According to Ars Technica, AT&T announced that early adopters will soon be able to hop onto the company’s 5G mmWave service, which includes a mobile hotspot.
AT&T’s 5G network jump started Dec. 21, Ars Technica says, and is available to certain decision makers and end users in select states, including Florida, Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. The hotspot hardware is a “Netgear NightHawk 5G Mobile Hotspot,” which is “packing one of the newest, fastest SoC’s on Earth, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC.” While specs and size measurements aren’t yet available for the hardware, Ars Technica says it “definitely looks huge,” consisting of a “big, bulky black box with a tiny screen in the center,” along with a touchscreen for setting of Wi-Fi, viewing data limits, and more.
What decision makers need to know:
While AT&T is calling this solution “the first and only company in the US to offer a mobile 5G device over a commercial, standards-based mobile 5G network,” Ars Technica suggests that decision makers pump the breaks before investing in it. To start, the technology is pricey. Come spring 2019, customers will be able to purchase NightHawk 5G for $500 along with a 5G data plan, which, Ars Technica reports, may be too expensive for a solution that is “overbuilt” and provides an “overpowered hotspot.”
Plus, the quality of the solution isn’t guaranteed. For example, Ars Technica says that while the 5G network will boost the speed of decision makers’ mobile internet, there’s no mention of exactly how much faster it will be. On top of that, mmWave has “worse penetration, smaller range, and susceptibility to weather;” a signal can even be blocked by trees, buildings, rain, fog, and human hands.
Finally, even when the solution is available to the public, there’s a chance that decision makers might not even get access to it, even if they want it. The trend of NightHawk 5G being available to select parts of the country may still continue next spring, and grow even more selective: “There’s even talk of limiting 5G networks to only cities,” Ars Technica says, which puts decision makers located in excluded cities or more rural areas at a disadvantage.