AT&T has been vague on its 5G plans, saying only that a dozen cities will have 5G of some sort by the end of the year. Today, AT&T's plans are slightly less vague. We know three of those dozen 5G markets: Dallas, Waco, and Atlanta.
This 5G is different than AT&T's hastily named "5G Evolution," which is still just LTE. In fact, its 5G evolution features have been live on T-Mobile for a few years. The 5G rollout AT&T's discussing today is new technology, though. AT&T says the aforementioned cities will be the first to get a taste of AT&T's 5G network in the form of millimeter wave service. This is a higher frequency than what is traditionally used for mobile devices, so it won't make for a very robust network on its own in an urban environment with lots of walls and buildings.
AT&T says it will add more spectrum bands to its 5G network over time, and it will be fully compliant with 3GPP standards. The equipment AT&T is deploying for LTE and 5G Evolution will allow it to migrate to full 5G service in the coming years. AT&T hints that it's working to make sure there's 5G hardware of some sort available in late 2018, but it'll probably be 2019 before there's any kind of selection.