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AT&T's Netgear mobile hotspot promises twice the speed of LTE (updated)

The $50 device will access '5G Evolution' networks in only two cities in the US.

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AT&T has just announced the first mobile hotspot router, the Netgear Nighthawk, that can connect to the telecom company's "5G Evolution" network, which AT&T claims offers up to twice the speed of typical 4G LTE. The service is only available in parts of Austin and Indianapolis, and previously only to Samsung S8 users. The Netgear router will cost $50, and you'll need to have at least a $20 per month data plan to use it.

"5G" isn't really a thing, yet, as the governing body that decides what specifically goes into each generation of wireless tech hasn't come up with standards for the tech or its deployment yet. AT&T was outbid by Verizon for some key 5G spectrum itself, too. AT&T's 5G Evolution network, for now, is based on 4G LTE technology using extras like 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM to boost speeds in the same way that T-Mobile has since last year.

Still, Netgear's new mobile hotspot will provide better speeds on more devices as a mobile Wi-Fi router, and while 5G Evolution is still restricted to two locations, there are at least three more cities AT&T is looking to roll it out to, with a nationwide push in late 2018.

Update: An AT&T spokesperson reached out to note that 5G Evolution works on 5G Evolution is supported on the S8, S8+, S8 Active, Note 8, LG V30, and Moto Z2 Force.

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