RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Raleigh and Charlotte will be getting next generation “5G” wireless service from AT&T later this year.

The two North Carolina cities along with Oklahoma City were announced as the communication giant’s next three additions for its new service on Friday morning. The emerging technology delivers data at much faster speeds and is seen as crucial for use in autonomous vehicles as well as the internet of things for wireless-linked devices.

“Raleigh is a center of innovation and research,” said Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane. “Being on the forefront of technology, like AT&T’s mobile 5G, is a great for both residents and business.”

5G availability had been announced earlier for Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas. [A graphic from Intel below helps explain how 5G operates.]

“Having two cities in the second wave of our nationwide mobile 5G deployment is great news for North Carolina,” said North Carolina AT&T President Vanessa Harrison. Not only does this keep our state on the cutting edge of advanced technology, with the potential for economic growth that brings, but it is a tribute to the pro-investment business climate which North Carolina’s leaders have worked hard to build and maintain over many years.”

Intel’s vision of 5G

“No company in the world is better at building networks than AT&T. It’s why we’re building America’s first mobile 5G network as well as FirstNet, the country’s nationwide public safety broadband platform dedicated to first responders,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology & Operations. “We’re on track to launch the first mobile 5G services and deliver the first device to customers this year. 5G will be more than just a better network. Especially after our trial learnings with large enterprises, small-and-medium sized businesses and residential locations the past two years, we believe 5G will ultimately create a world of new economic opportunity, greater mobility, and smarter connectivity for individuals, businesses and society as a whole.”

AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint are all racing to deploy 5G networks, which will provide wireless access at much faster speeds than current 4G technology.

An interim service between 5G and 4G known as 5G Evolution with speeds at 400 megabits per second or higher is already available in more than 140 markets, AT&T added.

5G trials are underway in several cities, and the overall wireless industry continues to move toward global 5G standards.

Bloomberg news notes that Verizon is planning 5G service this year for several cities, including Los Angeles.