AT&T’s U.S. rival Verizon Communications said last July that it has also laid out plans to conduct trials for its 5G network this year.
AT&T said it plans to test its wireless 5G network, which reached speeds of 14 gigabits per second in lab trials, for customers of its online streaming television service, DirecTv Now, in Austin, Texas — over a fixed wireless 5G connection.
The U.S. wireless carrier, which plans to conduct the 5G trial in the first half of 2017, has teamed up with Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson for mobile and broadband trials of the 5G network in the second half of the year.
“Our 5G Evolution plans will pave the way to the next-generation of higher speeds for customers. We’re not waiting until the final standards are set to lay the foundation for our evolution to 5G. We’re executing now,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations.
Data on AT&T mobile network has increased about 250,000 percent since 2007, and the majority of that traffic is video.
AT&T is keen to utilize 5G network for offering high quality video, Internet of Things (IoT), 4K video, augmented and virtual reality, smart home and cities, autonomous vehicles and much more.
AT&T, during lab trials, tested a connection with less than 3 milliseconds of latency, which surpasses any current LTE network technology. The industry expectation for 5G is latency less than 5 milliseconds.
AT&T expects to begin reaching peak theoretical speeds of up to 1 Gbps at some cell sites in 2017. AT&T will densify wireless network this year through the deployment of small cells and the use of technologies like carrier aggregation to increase peak data speeds.
AT&T is currently deploying three-way carrier aggregation in select areas, and plan to introduce four-way carrier aggregation as well as LTE-License Assisted Access (LAA) this year.
As part of the 5G video trial with DIRECTV NOW, AT&T will test additional entertainment services over fixed 5G connections to understand how fixed wireless mmWave technology handles heavy video traffic.
Last fall, AT&T launched the industry’s first 5G business customer trial in Austin with Intel and Ericsson using millimeter wave (mmWave) technology, which can deliver multi-gigabit speeds using an unlicensed band of spectrum. AT&T trialed video streaming and conferencing experiences, and saw upload and download speeds around 1 Gbps during the first phase of the trial.
AT&T is marketing 1 gigabit connection on fiber network to nearly 4 million locations across 46 metros nationwide. More than 650,000 of these locations include apartments and condo units.
AT&T has fiber network across the 21 states where it offers home internet service and by mid-2019 it plans to reach at least 12.5 million locations across 67 metro areas with fiber network.
AT&T is also conducting technology trials over fixed wireless point-to-point mmWave and G.fast technologies to deliver greater speeds and efficiencies within our copper and fiber networks.
In October 2016, AT&T announced multi-dwelling unit (MDU) fixed wireless point-to-point mmWave trial in Minneapolis. AT&T is also exploring additional markets for trial locations.
AT&T is gearing up to offer G.fast to more locations, primarily MDUs, within its 21 state wireline footprint in 2017.
AT&T will offer Fixed Wireless Internet (FWI) service in mid-2017 in areas where it accepted FCC Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) support. AT&T expects to reach more than 400,000 locations by the end of 2017 across the 18 states where it accepted CAF II funds. By the end of 2020, AT&T plans to reach 1.1 million locations in those 18 states.