Although AT&T’s next-gen 5G network is already available in some 19 markets across the country, the carrier still hasn’t decided how it plans to offer the service. At least in terms of phones, that is. Currently, the only choice for access is an expensive mobile hotspot from Netgear.
Forgetting, for a moment, about the 5GE stuff that’s showing up on existing phones, the true 5G network is the focus here. As such, it doesn’t seem quite like AT&T is ready to say one way or another how it plans to offer access.
As The Verge noted earlier this week, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was on an earnings call where he discussed the future of high-speed mobile internet. And, from the sounds of it, the carrier is leaning in the direction of charging customers different prices based on speed.
The move would be similar to what you see in the fixed line space in homes around the country.
“I will be very surprised if… the pricing regime… doesn’t look something like the pricing regime you see in fixed line. If you can offer a gig speed, there are some customers that are willing to pay a premium for 500 meg to a gig speed, and so forth.”
Given that we’re at least a few years away from seeing total blanket coverage from the big service providers, there’s plenty of time for things to shake out and change. What we see in pricing and speeds at the start may be completely different when it comes to mass adoption. This goes for not only AT&T 5G, but other providers, too.
Verizon currently charges its customer $10 per month for access to the 5G network, provided the subscriber is on a qualified rate plan. Available in only two cities today, the carrier pledges some 30 by the end of 2019.