AT&T announced Monday that 5G is coming to San Antonio — or at least part of San Antonio, anyway.
San Antonio joins 11 cities, including Dallas, Houston and Waco, on the list to receive the service later this year.
The fifth generation of cellular networking, which according to developers, is faster and is predicted to foster the next wave of innovation. The announcement was made at the Spark Conference in San Francisco.
“Just a few days ago, earlier this weekend, we made world’s first 5G phone call, and it was done in Waco, Texas,” said Andre Feutsch, president of AT&T labs.
He went on to say this was on a standards-based network with a “mobile form factor device, not a van, no emulators.” In other words, he avoided saying “phone” when describing the device the call was made on.
That’s because current phones will not be able to use the 5G network and many companies are just now ramping up production. Samsung announced at the same conference it would release its first 5G compatible units next year.
“(The) call between a 5G base station in the field and a smartphone form-factor 5G device brings us one step closer to commercial 5G networks and mobile devices,” wrote David Nash, vice president of business development at smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm, in a release.
Technologists have said automated cars, artificial intelligence and a new order of mobile internet benefit from the implementation of 5G. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all want to be the first to have a system come online.
Verizon announced earlier this year it would roll out 5G be in Houston in 2018.
With estimates of as many as 20 million Americans lacking access to broadband internet, 5G is often talked about as one potential solution to bridging the digital divide.
A 2016 federal reserve study showed that one in four San Antonio homes lacked internet access.