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In hot pursuit of Verizon, AT&T begins testing 5G technology in Austin, Texas

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Jonathan Weiss/123RF
AT&T apparently isn’t going to take the news that Verizon has started testing 5G without doing anything itself — in fact, AT&T is now set to start testing the next generation of data transfer technology itself. In a new blog post, the company said it would begin testing 5G out in the real world in partnership with Intel and Ericsson. The tests are taking place in one of AT&T’s Austin, Texas, offices.

As mentioned, AT&T isn’t the only company testing the new technology — all four of the major carriers are working on 5G, but Verizon and AT&T seem to be the furthest ahead in the testing process.

The news isn’t all that surprising — AT&T announced earlier this year that it would be testing 5G in Austin by the end of the year. According to the company, it specifically wants to test how 5G handles 4K video, butit will be testing a range of use cases, including using 5G for VoIP.

Before you get too excited, it’s important to note that it will probably be a while before we mere humans have access to 5G. The 5G standard still has yet to be defined, which means it will still likely be a few years before it can actually be implemented. Most companies seem to be targeting a 2020 launch for the new standard, but whether they can hit that goal still remains to be seen.

It’s also likely that once 5G implementation begins, it will only be in select areas. The new standard is likely to require all-new infrastructure, especially considering that it uses millimeter wave technology, which can’t really travel long distances or through many obstacles.

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