In short: Samsung scored another major 5G win after AT&T named the company as one of its three network equipment suppliers meant to help it deploy the next generation of mobile communications in the United States. AT&T will also be using Ericsson and Nokia’s hardware for the project, having now also confirmed that its experimental 5G network will be debuting in San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, Louisville, and Jacksonville later this year, in addition to the already announced cities.
Background: AT&T will be the only U.S. carrier to launch a truly mobile 5G service in the country by the end of the year, though the lack of 5G-enabled smartphones will only allow consumers in select cities to connect to the network using so-called “pucks,” or hotspots. Besides the aforementioned handful of cities, AT&T already confirmed its first 5G deployment wave will encompass Dallas, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Waco, Charlotte, Indianapolis, and Raleigh. The service will then expand to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, and Orlando in early 2019. Last month, Samsung cleared another $22 billion investment vehicle that it expects to largely use to support additional research and development in the 5G segment.
The impact: Samsung has been struggling to break into the U.S. wireless infrastructure market for years and while it largely failed to do so with 4G LTE, its pioneering work in the 5G segment is now winning some customers over. With the South Korean juggernaut now partnering with both AT&T and Verizon, it’s in a prime position to become one of the fastest-growing network equipment manufacturers on the planet and further entrench its position in the U.S. Being on the forefront of 5G deployment efforts should also help it ensure its first 5G-ready handsets are as reliable as they can be and may also eliminate the need for some interoperability testing.