AT&T said that it is adding thousands of new customers every single day to its standalone 5G network, which include subscribers to its burgeoning Internet Air home broadband business
Standalone 5G is an important step in the evolution of 5G, because the connection runs entirely on a system optimized for the next-generation wireless technology. 5G originally launched on a network system that was originally built for older 4G wireless standards, but the upgrade to standalone upgrade allows for higher download speeds and better overall performance.
“Our network is the new killer app and it’s paving the way for what’s next,” AT&T Network President Chris Sambar said in a release.
The advancement to standalone 5G signals that there’s still a lot of promise in wireless technology, despite an early feeling of “meh” that came from its launch. 5G was hyped as a revolutionary technology that was supposed to change the world, but it has largely been a speed boost vs. a catalyst of breakthrough technologies and apps.
Despite the lack of excitement, the growth has been astounding. 5G’s expansion has outpaced its 3G and 4G predecessors. Where it took 3G nearly 12 years to reach one billion users and 4G almost five years, 5G hit that mark in just three years back in December. Vikrant Gandhi, Vice President of Research, Information & Communications Technologies at Frost & Sullivan, told Cord Cutters News that experts estimate two billion users will have access by 2024 and three billion by 2026.
But growing interest in 5G-powered home internet suggests there is already a quasi-killer app available already, with enthusiasm for its simple setup and pricing.
AT&T was a bit late to the 5G home internet, but it launched Internet Air in 16 markets last month (four more were added this month). The service boasts 40-140 Mbps down and 5-25 Mbps up, costs about $55 a month with no data caps. Internet Air will provide DSL customers with faster internet without having to replace copper lines, which more companies are starting to shut down.