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AT&T Not Waiting for 5G Standard, to Offer Consumer Trials

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Jan 4, 2017, 10:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Jan 4, 2017, 10:30 AM

AT&T today laid out more of it is roadmap for 5G and brazenly said it is moving forward despite the lack of standardization for 5G. "We're not waiting until the final standards are set to lay the foundation for our evolution to 5G," said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations. "We're executing now." AT&T says its data network has seen a 250,000% increase in traffic since 2007, largely driven by video. It feels it needs to move on 5G now in order to accommodate the growing demand for data. The International Telecommunication Union isn't expected to formally ratify 5G until 2020, though some of the broad definitions of 5G have already been defined, such as 1 Gbps speeds and latency under 5 milliseconds. AT&T claims its lab trials have already delivered peak speeds of 14 Gbps with latency as low as 3 milliseconds. It says some portions of its LTE 4G network will offer 1 Gbps (theoretical max) speeds later this year thanks to small cells, densification, and 3- and 4-channel carrier aggregation. AT&T's DirecTV Now customers in Austin, Texas, will be the first to trial AT&T's 5G network technology during the first half of the year. The trial will involve fixed wireless 5G using mmWave in a handful of locations with a handful of devices in the Austin area. The tests may begin as soon as March. The company has been testing this same technology with Intel and Ericsson in Austin since last fall and says it saw consistent 1 Gbps speeds. AT&T plans more 5G trials this year in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands using the framework developed so far by the 3GPP.


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Jan 4, 2017, 11:17 AM

Worked Well For Sprint

It seemed to work pretty well for Sprint too.. what, deploying a 4G technology and not waiting for finalization of a standard, one that actually is a competing and much more efficient and unifying one over the technology they chose, all so they could avoid waiting and investing in their network because of the explosion of data as well.. but hey, worked out well for them in the end.. ousted CEO's, an acquisition, a massive stock drop, more debt than the company is worth, creation of several holding companies to move money from one pocket to another just to float the bills and get by for another month,, yeah AT&T, you should go that route... deploy something because you're impetuous rather than actually do it right. Because it worked well for ...
Glad to see AT&T is thinking aggressively. I don't think you'll have to worry about AT&T making a bad decision but they seem to want to lead the pack and that is good. It forces other carriers to get off the pot and do something to keep up.
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