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AT&T Expanding 5G Trials to More Markets

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Aug 30, 2017, 9:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

AT&T today said it plans to test its fixed 5G wireless technology with consumers and businesses in a handful of new markets. It kicked off 5G trials earlier this year in Austin and will expand to Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Mich.; and South Bend, Ind. by the end of the year. The company says it has already gained valuable insight regarding millimeter wave (mmWave) technology from its Austin trials, including how well the signal propagates around objects and how it is impacted by weather. It is consistently seeing maximum download speeds of 1 Gbps, though latency is stuck at 10 nanoseconds. AT&T is testing a handful of applications and services. For example, AT&T is allowing DirecTV Now customers to stream live television over this 5G connection using Ericsson's 5G RAN and Intel's 5G Mobile Trial Platform. AT&T didn't say what spectrum it is using to conduct these trials, nor what consumer equipment is involved. The mmWave technology is just one of many candidate 5G technologies being considered by the 3GPP and ITU. The 5G standard has not yet been technically defined by the international community, but that hasn't stopped carriers and telecom equipment manufacturers from forging ahead. The goal with tests such as these is to make enough technical progress so AT&T can contribute to the final 5G spec and get a jump on deployment. AT&T says it expects to deliver 5G speeds as early as late 2018.

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