Telecoms giant AT&T plans to roll out 5G in 12 US cities this year

4 Jan 2018268 Views

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AT&T is on the way to 5G. Image: AT&T

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AT&T aims to launch the first standards-based mobile 5G service in the US.

Telecoms company AT&T said it aims to become the first US carrier to provide fifth-generation (5G) mobile service to customers in 2018, heating up the competition between it and rivals T-Mobile and Verizon.

Although there are current trials in the US using 5G to transmit signals between stationary antennas, AT&T said it would be introducing a commercial mobile service in more than 12 cities in the country this year.

According to FierceWireless.com, the emphasis on mobile is an intriguing one as many are sceptical that mobility can be offered in millimetre-wave spectrum, and the AT&T statement doesn’t specify the spectrum bands in which the mobile 5G would be deployed.

New industry standards for 5G

In December 2017, standards body 3GPP approved the first implementable 5G NR specification at a meeting in Lisbon, allowing major progress to be made in terms of deployment.

ZDNet reported that the final approvals from 3GPP will come in September 2018 at a meeting hosted in Australia. The network will be based on these newly accepted industry standards for 5G.

Melissa Arnoldi, president of technology and operations at AT&T, said: “5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment.

“We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses.

“With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more.”

The Verge reported that Verizon is aiming to have 5G services in five cities by the end of this year, while Sprint and T-Mobile said their 5G networks will be in place by the end of 2019 and the end of 2020, respectively.

AT&T is also planning on offering trials of 5G technology to enterprises of varying sizes and industries, as well as harnessing the power of edge computing combined with a 5G network.

Last year, the company had to defend its use of the term ‘5G’ when discussing its plans to offer faster speeds in 20 metropolitan areas prior to the 3GPP standards being finalised.

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com