The race to 5G continues.
AT&T plan to offer mobile 5G to customers in a dozen cities, including parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas, by the end of this year. It will announce additional cities in the coming months.
The deployments will be standards-based, mobile 5G, according to AT&T, which is the only U.S. carrier that’s announced plans to deliver this ground-breaking technology to its customers in 2018.
“After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards, conducting multi-city trials, and literally transforming our network for the future, we’re planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G – and do it much sooner than most people thought possible,” said Igal Elbaz, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design. “Our mobile 5G firsts will put our customers in the middle of it all.
“AT&T continues to build the foundation of 5G. We initially launched 5G Evolution last spring and plan to offer this technology broadly by the end of the year. Additionally, last fall we launched LTE-Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA) technologies in parts of Indianapolis and are now live in parts of Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.”
The carrier’s initial mobile 5G deployments this year will be based on 3GPP standards and operate over mmWave spectrum. It will use mmWave to provide mobile 5G in some areas, and then deploy the technology on additional spectrum bands.
“The way we are implementing 5G in the initial deployments will also seamlessly integrate with current LTE technologies using the non-standalone configuration outlined in 3GPP release 15. The equipment we are deploying today on our LTE network will allow us to easily migrate to 5G,” Elbaz said. “We believe 5G and SDN go hand in hand. A virtualized and software-defined network lets you develop, deploy, and protect new network applications faster than with a hardware-based model.”
The carrier plans to virtualize 75 percent of its network by 2020. It reached 55 percent in 2017.