AT&T has started to put its 5G+ networks in select airports across the US. The largest American wireless provider has already rolled out the next-gen wireless connectivity at Tampa International Airport (TPA). Travelers at TPA with an active unlimited 5G plan will now be able to enjoy ultra-fast cellular connectivity from the moment they arrive at the airplane boarding gates to until they leave the airport.
"This is a tremendous enhancement for our passengers and guests and we're thrilled to be able to roll this out just in time for Super Bowl LV," said Marcus Session, TPA's VP of Information Technology Services. Super Bowl LV (aka Super Bowl 55) will take place at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 7 in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
TPA also already offers 5G connectivity on Verizon's network in the Main Terminal and post-security air sides. T-Mobile's 5G service will also be available at the airport later this month. It will become the first airport in the US to offer 5G connectivity across the nation's three major wireless carriers.
This 5G deployment project at TPA apparently began back in 2018 itself. Crown Castle, the nation's largest communications infrastructure provider, has installed around 800 antennas across the airport, running approximately 50 miles of cables. The result is lightning fast internet speeds of up to 2 Gigabits per second.
TPA also promises significant enhancement to 4G internet speeds throughout the airport. Travelers at the airport will be able to leverage download speeds up to 300 Megabits per second over 4G networks.
AT&T and Verizon roll out their 5G networks at Tampa International Airport
The still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic slowed down everything last year. But as the pandemic resulted in an increased demand for faster wireless connectivity, American cellular providers have started to increase the pace of their respective 5G rollouts.
Along with residential areas and business establishments, network operators are now targeting places like airports as well. Although travel is minimal in most parts of the world because of the pandemic, some people still need to travel. AT&T says fast internet connectivity not only helps travelers but can also help improve "operational efficiency for airlines, other tenants, and airport operations."
The company promises to continue expanding its 5G+ coverage to other participating US airports in the coming years. For the uninitiated, 5G+ is AT&T's name for 5G service deployed using millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum. This high-band 5G network can deliver unprecedented performance but suffer from poor range. Millimeter waves have trouble passing through obstacles such as walls and buildings.