AT&T's 5G trials could deliver speeds around 5 Gbps this year
May 25, 2016
T&T (NYSE: T) will start a 5G trial with "friendly" customers by the end of this year, delivering a multi-gigabit, fixed type of service, according to a keynote at the Big Communications Event (BCE) 2016 in Austin, Texas.
Dave Wolter, AT&T assistant VP of radio technology and architecture, did not say exactly what "multi-gigabit" speeds would be in the trials, according to Light Reading. However, his slides said that the Phase 1 5G specification, which the industry is working on defining now, will offer "mobile broadband throughput of 5 Gbps+."
AT&T previously has said that it plans to expand its current lab testing to an outdoor test in Austin this summer, and it plans to use pre-standard equipment in 2017, similar to what Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is doing. AT&T is starting tests first using 15 GHz gear – because that's what's available – and moving to 28 GHz equipment later this year.
"It's a new area for us," Wolter said of millimeter wave radios, according to Light Reading. "We don't understand everything we need to know yet."
AT&T executives also have said there's still a lot of life left in LTE. In LTE Release 13, there's the ability to launch FD-MIMO in LTE, as well as improved latency, higher order modulation and the beginnings of virtualization. Narrowband LTE is designed for low-power devices, with 10-year battery life, and deployment is expected in late 2017/early 2018.