Verizon may have unveiled its road map to accessing 5G wireless speeds last September, but AT&T doesn’t want to be left in Big Red’s dust.
The telecommunications corporation released its plan to make 5G speeds accessible for the average consumer — and it starts with a partnership with Ericsson and Intel, with lab tests done withing the second quarter of the year. Then, outdoor tests and trials will take place over the summer, and fixed locations in Austin will likely receive field trials of the new 5G network.
5G is hardly an incremental upgrade over 4G LTE, which currently offers up to 100Mbps in speed. 5G offers speeds that are 10 to 100 times faster, about 1Gbps — that could potentially allow you to download a TV show in three seconds. AT&T says 5G will also reduce latency as well — as in the time it takes for a video to start streaming after you hit play. That could be reduced to as much as a 1- to 5-millisecond delay.
AT&T has to wait until 5G standards are set in stone by the 3GPP first. The 3GPP is the international body that sets the network standards, and it’s currently working on standards for 5G, but the first phase of two will only be complete in the first half of 2018.
AT&T says its wireless network’s data traffic saw more than 60 percent coming from video last year, and said “4K video, virtual reality, and IoT will drive the next wave of traffic growth.”
While companies are rushing to be the first to make use of 5G capabilities, some are calling to focus on industry standards reform, changes to Intellectual Property rules, and alterations to how spectrum is allocated, before setting such a quick and firm road map for 5G wireless, which is expected to be see nationwide deployment by 2020.