AT&T announces it will expand 5G coverage to Birmingham. (Update)

I believe in Birmingham
AT&T Believe Birmingham initiative launched at Bush Hills Academy on August 2, 2019. Photo via Day 22 Films, LLC.

Update Dec.13, 2019: The coverage is now live in Birmingham. Birmingham-area consumers and businesses are now among the first in the country with access to AT&T 5G.

2020 isn’t going to be exactly how the creators of the Jetsons imagined it, but Birmingham is getting closer to that vision. In the following weeks AT&T will launch its faster generation of mobile communication in several new areas, including the Magic City.

So, what does this mean for Birmingham? Keep reading to see how 5G is going to shape our city and push it toward the future of technology .

What is 5G and how is it different than what I’m using now?

Bham Now Twitter
Once you have 5G, you’ll be able to send all of Bham Now’s content to your friends so much faster! Photo via Bham Now.

Although it’s currently in its early stages, the network is a faster, smarter and more responsive. For all my Alabama fans (and Auburn too, I guess), think about trying to text your friend in the stadium.

You tell them to look at the Jumbotron, because they’re totally missing their moment on screen not paying attention. They’ll end up texting you five hours later confused, because your message never delivered with all the congestion.

“I appreciate Council President Pro Tem Alexander’s efforts to engage with AT&T to ensure our customers in the Birmingham area are among the first to experience AT&T 5G. We are proud of our continued investment and innovation, and we’re on track to offer nationwide AT&T 5G service in the first half of 2020.”

Wayne Hutchens, AT&T Alabama state president, via press release.

5G adds more “lanes” to increase speed for you and stop traffic jams. It also ensures your friend won’t miss their time in the spotlight when you text them from across the stadium.

How do I know if I have it?

On Nov.25 AT&T began preorders for its first low-band 5G smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G. AT&T Logo- Via

You might already have a phone that displays “5G E” when you’re in an area that offers it. 5GE, or 5G evolution, means a 4G LTE advanced feature is activated. To name a few, smartphones like the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy S10e are 5G evolution capable.

Although some phones are currently 5GE capable, this phone will be the first one by AT&T to offer low-band 5G.

Update Dec.13, 2019: AT&T customers can purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G in the Birmingham area AT&T stores or online. For a limited time, customers can get the device for as low as $350 when purchased on a qualifying device installment plan, with eligible unlimited plan and trade in.

If you have a recently launched unlimited plan with Birmingham, 5G access is included at no extra cost. These plans include:

  • AT&T Unlimited Elite: 30 gigabytes (GB) of mobile hotspot data per line, 100 GB of data on a line in a bill cycle before a customer might temporarily see slow data speeds on that line when the network is busy.
  • AT&T Unlimited Extra: 15GB of mobile hotspot data per line, 50 GB of data on a line in a bill cycle

Let’s talk about the cool stuff.

Children's Hospital
Eventually, 5G could allow our top-notch hospitals to advance even further in medical technology. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now.

So, 5G is awesome for sending memes in the group chat at the speed of light. But what’s even cooler is that as the network grows and becomes more advanced, 5G will open up more opportunities for technology like self-driving vehicles.

More than that, it’s big for Birmingham and our thriving medical community. Introducing this technology can:

  1. Transmit large imaging files like MRIs faster and across broader distances.
  2. Help those in remote locations still receive medical support via high-quality videos.
  3. Use AR and VR for less invasive treatments when it comes to treatments for pain and anxiety.
  4. Allow remote devices, known as iOT devices, to update faster. This way, doctors using devices connected to the internet can monitor their patients in real-time.
  5. Allow capabilities for further use of AI as a way to diagnose patients.

What did we miss? Let us know on social @bhamnow!

Irene Richardson
Irene Richardson
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