AT&T 5G Mid-Band Support: You Might Need A New 5G Device
If you’ve heard the confusing rumors that your 5G cellular hotspot or phone may not work with AT&T new 5G spectrum, you wouldn’t be alone. You could also be forgiven if you are not an expert on the inner workings and details of 5G and have no idea what all of this means.
While 4G is still the most common form of mobile internet you’ll get, 5G is becoming increasingly common. In addition, early 5G wasn’t much faster than 4G, as new spectrum is opened up we’ve seen speeds start to increase dramatically through a combination of less crowding and better technology.
What Is AT&T 5G Mid-Band?
AT&T recently purchased billions of dollars of new spectrum, the reserved space in radio waves that cellular internet traffic travels through. One of the major acquisitions AT&T made recently is the 3.45 gig spectrum. This relatively new bit of airwave is a key part of AT&T planned 5G rollout.
What Is N77 Band?
Every band, or range of spectrum is assigned an ID. ands simply refer to a range of spectrum. In this case the new AT&T 5G mid-band is in the N77 band. However, this is adding to the confusion. While band N77 support has existed on most 5G devices for a long time, the support for the specific range of spectrum AT&T is using was only added in version 16 of the cellular standards.
How Does This Impact My 5G Device?
The reason you should care is that Version 16 of the cellular standards was announced in 2022 and just recently in the second half of 2022 started appear on 5G hotspots and devices. So if you hotspot or phone was purchased prior to now, it is highly unlikely it will support this new AT&T 5G capabilities.
Originally, AT&T planned to do software updates to some older 5G hotspots and phones. AT&T notes that this is planned to occur “by the end of the year”, but no additional specifics were provided?
Making A 5G Device Purchase
If you are making or considering a 5G device purchase and you are looking at hotspots that use or could use AT&T, you’ll want to ensure you are buying a device that supports this new mid-band spectrum or can be upgraded to it. With AT&T putting so much emphasis on 5G and in particular, this mid-band being core to it’s rollout, it’s a critical detail even less technical shoppers will want to pay attention to.