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AT&T begins offering 5G access on legacy unlimited plans

Some AT&T customers are known for keeping their wireless plans for several years, remaining grandfathered in to plans that cost less than those being offered to new customers or those willing to upgrade.

Typically, this means long-time customers with older plans often have to miss out on the newest perk or feature being offered by AT&T. Such was the case when AT&T began offering new and upgraded customers access to its next-generation 5G wireless network, which left many of its existing customers on older plans stuck on the slower 4G LTE network.

But starting this week, some long-timers with older plans will see a speed boost when AT&T begins rolling out access to its 5G network more broadly, allowing those with certain Unlimited-branded plans access to the next-generation network at no extra cost.

The move comes as competition from AT&T’s rivals T-Mobile and Verizon heats up in the 5G space. Verizon is seen as the overall speed leader in 5G with its milli-meter wave service offering speeds in excess of 2 Gigabits-per-second, while T-Mobile often touts that it has the biggest 5G network in the United States.

AT&T is somewhere in the middle when it comes to both features and price, though it enjoys a devoted customer base who are likely to stick with the company over the long-term and are unlikely to switch even when presented with something better from a rival network. By turning on 5G for some of those customers, AT&T is hoping to stay in their good graces for a little while longer.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).