Operators around the world have designated 2020 as the year 5G networks will be launched. While some markets will see earlier dates, overall 2020 is the year in which wide scale services will be available. For AT&T, it means carrying out more trials to determine the full capability of 5G technology and what the company can expect in real-world use cases as 2020 fast approaches. The company announced it is launching a second 5G trial in Austin, TX in collaboration with DIRECTV NOW for delivering ultrafast Internet connections to residential, small business and enterprise customers using Ericsson (News - Alert)'s 5G RAN and the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform.
The first trial also took place in Austin in December 2016, which at the time AT&T (News - Alert) said was the first of its kind using mmWave technology to power a 5G network experience. The 5G demo was streaming 4K HD video, real-time camera feeds and reaching speeds of nearly 14 gigabits per second.
This time around, AT&T is still using millimeter wave (mmWave) technology for the trial in Austin at more locations to deliver ultra-fast 5G network experiences.
The company said participants of the trial will be able to stream premium live TV with DIRECTV NOW through faster broadband services over a fixed wireless 5G signal. This signal is expected to deliver speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second using the mmWave spectrum. AT&T tested this technology at its laboratories in New Jersey before they came down to Texas so the people of Austin can experience the technology before full deployment, which for AT&T can be as soon as the latter part of 2018.
When the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless standards body accelerated some elements in the 5G new radio (NR) timeline, it meant standards-based mobile 5G services to consumers could be launched starting in late 2018. When 3GPP made the announcement, 47 global operators and vendors signed off on the new proposal, AT&T being one of them. This acceleration will provide standards-based mobile 5G service by 2019, at least that is what many operators are aiming for.
“The technology behind 5G is important. But it's also about advancing social trends like mobile video streaming. In Austin, we're testing DIRECTV NOW over ultra-fast internet speeds at a variety of locations. The network of the future will help redefine what connectivity means to both consumers and businesses. This trial helps show that the new reality is coming fast,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design, AT&T.
The ultra-fast speeds of 5G can’t come soon enough. According to AT&T, mobile network has grown more than 250,000 percent since 2007, with video traffic experiencing a 75 percent increase and smartphones driving close to 75 percent of its data traffic in 2016.
We are only a couple of years away for 5G services, and the trials make that possible. Joakim Sorelius, Head of 5G Radio, Business Area Networks at Ericsson, said, “This trial takes us a step closer to 5G commercialization, validating the technology and exploring the potential for outdoor-to-indoor mmWave coverage for residential and business customers.”
Edited by Alicia Young