AT&T provided an update on its 5G roadmap at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, outlining another trial in Austin that will allow DirecTV Now subscribers to stream video over a fixed wireless 5G connection.
The fixed wireless trial is slated for the first half of this year. The trial will be conducted across multiple devices and locations and will also test additional entertainment services over fixed 5G connections. AT&T has reached speeds of up to 14 Gbit/s over a wireless connection in previous lab trials in Austin. (See AT&T Unveils 5G Ambitions.)
AT&T will also be kicking the tires on mobile and broadband trials on its 5G network in the second half of this year, which will include Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)
and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). Those trials are important to AT&T's 5G goals because they will be the first to tap into the 5G New Radio (NR) specification that is being developed by standards governing body 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) . AT&T said the trials, which are expected to hit multi-gigabit data rates, would accelerate commercial deployments in 28GHz and 39GHz. (See AT&T, Ericsson & Qualcomm Get Ready to Test 5G Radio in 2017.)
As 3GPP works towards finishing the first 5G specification later this year, AT&T and other carriers, such as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), are moving forward with their trials to get a leg up on 5G deployments. (See Top Execs Talk 5G With Telco Transformation.)
While there's a lot of work underway on 5G networks, it could be at least three years before standardized products are available.
"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 AT&T's John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations, in a statement. "Data on our mobile network has increased about 250,000% since 2007, and the majority of that traffic is video.
"5G's promise of greater speed and overall network performance brings huge opportunities not only for video but in the Internet of Things, 4K video, augmented and virtual reality, smart home and cities, autonomous vehicles and much more."
5G will once again be a hot topic next month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation