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CES 2020: Top Telecom Carriers Talk 5G, New Devices And IoT

From 5G-capable smartphones, to Smart City and IoT plans, here's what AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon revealed during CES 2020 this week.

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5G Everything 

The country's largest carriers came out in full-force at CES 2020 and just like last year, 5G took center stage. This time, however, the technology is more integrated in carrier offerings than ever.

The next generation of wireless technology has been making headlines for the last two years and it’s promising lightning-fast speeds compared to 4G LTE. For Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as asset tracking, smart cities, connected health and wearables, 5G's speeds of nearly 20 times faster than today's wireless technology will a game changer. But it's not only consumers who are getting excited about 5G. It's emerging as a huge opportunity for business users, too.

Here's what AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon had to say about network rollout plans, soon-to-be available devices, and Smart City plans at CES 2020.  

AT&T on 5G Devices, Network Plans 

Carrier giant AT&T had 5G on the mind at this year's CES event. Right now, the carrier only sells one 5G-capable phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, but AT&T plans to have 15 5G phones available for use on its low-band 5G spectrum during 2020. The Dallas-based provider said that other mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets, and hotspots will also be available this year, but no exact number of products were provided.

AT&T's low-band 5G network went live in December and is currently live in parts of 19 cities. The carrier's other 5G network that is built on millimeter-wave and is referred to as 5G Plus is live in parts of 35 cities. AT&T said that it plans to cover 200 million people with its 5G network by this summer.

Sprint IoT, Smart City Updates

Wireless provider Sprint could merge with T-Mobile any day now, but the Overland Park, Kansas-based carrier hasn't slowed down in the meantime. Sprint took to CES to launch several new offerings and update the market on its IoT plans.

Sprint unveiled its Certainty network design model, which unites its entire business wireline portfolio, including its wireless, IoT, and security solutions. The carrier also launched IoT Factory 2.0, a dedicated platform that solution providers and businesses can use to build custom IoT solutions for small-to-midsized businesses in the food service, healthcare and agriculture space.

Sprint updated the market on its Smart City initiative on Tuesday. Specifically in Georgia, the provider said that in 2020 "micropositioning” technology, which combines next-generation wireless technologies and small cells will be installed within city infrastructure in areas to enable real-world navigation for autonomous machines, more connected sensors and IoT solution testing in its innovation Center for solutions such as refrigeration and monitoring, and security robots in Peachtree Corners' Town Hall. Sprint also has plans to integrate additional Smart City technology in Greenville, South Carolina, and Arizona State University.

T-Mobile Takes 5G, Avoids Sprint Mega-Merger Talk

T-Mobile didn't address the main topic on everyone's mind when thinking about the Magenta-colored carrier: its in-progress $26 billion mega-merger with wireless competitor Sprint. Instead, the "Un-Carrier" took to the show to highlight its 5G connectivity.

In a surprising move last month, the Bellevue, Wash.-based provider launched its nationwide 5G network using 600 MHz spectrum acquired in the recent incentive auction, as well as two 5G phones capable of using its 600 MHz spectrum. T-Mobile originally planned to launch the network in 2020.

Verizon Goes Head-To-Head With AT&T On 5G  

AT&T's biggest competitor, Verizon, also came to CES armed with 5G updates. Compared to AT&T's 15 devices, Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon vowed to have 20 5G-capable devices in 2020 and said these devices would be competitively priced anywhere between $600-$800. Currently, Verizon has four 5G-capable smartphones. Subscribers interested in 5G will have to pay an additional $10 on top of their current unlimited data plan, Verizon said, but the company didn't name any specific device manufacturers.

Verizon's flavor of 5G is available in parts of 30 cities today, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City, as well as Hoboken, N.J. Des Moines, Iowa; and Providence, RI.

 
 
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