While carriers race to roll out 5G across the country, today AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson gave investors a little taste of what initial iterations of new wireless broadband might look like. If you were looking for a special 5G phone to hook up to lightning fast speeds , you might have to wait a bit longer than expected.
According to CNET, the first 5G phones won’t be a thing until early next year, leaving anxious carriers lacking the hardware to show off their tech. Stephenson said AT&T will begin by deploying what amounts to a high-tech Stick Up air freshener that will function like a mobile hot spot on steroids. He added the industry faced the same delays as LTE networks started to come online. The 5G pucks will be the initial step.
@ATT CEO Says 1st mobile #5G product — for 2018 — will be a puck! "It's not going to be a handset, because handsets just aren't available, think of this as a puck," Stephenson said on Q4 call. MiFi @NevilleRay @Light_Reading @DHSchoolar
— Dan Jones (@Dan_LRMobile) January 31, 2018
A puck just doesn’t sound very groundbreaking though, especially in light of all the hype surrounding widespread 5G deployment.
— Diana Goovaerts (@DiaMariesbeat) January 31, 2018
But let’s face it, carriers are under pressure to make anything 5G happen in the U.S. Just this week, the Trump administration floated the idea of nationalizing the 5G effort to speed up deployment. Maybe in that case the puck is just enough to give consumers a taste of 5G’s promise.