AT&T publishes 5G roadmap, will begin field testing later this year

By Shawn Knight
Feb 12, 2016
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  1. Like other wireless carriers, AT&T has been researching 5G network technologies for years. Now that 4G is inching closer to being phased out, the nation's second largest mobile service provider is going public with its 5G roadmap.

    AT&T said network function virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and millimeter waves will be among the technologies harnessed to make 5G a reality. The carrier added that they've been developing these technologies for years and have filed dozens of patents associated with them.

    Looking ahead, AT&T said it aims to partner with Ericsson and Intel to develop 5G solutions in the lab starting in the second quarter of this year. Outdoor testing will commence over the summer, we're told, with field trials at fixed locations to begin by the end of the year.

    Once in place, AT&T said it expects 5G networks to deliver speeds 10 to 100 times faster than the 4G LTE connections we use today. Speeds on 5G networks will be measured in gigabits per second, not megabits, AT&T added.

    Last year, more than 60 percent of data traffic on AT&T's network was video.

    John Donovan, Chief Strategy Officer and Group President, AT&T Technology and Operations, correctly points out that new experiences such as virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics and smart cities are gearing up to test wireless networks like never before. 5G will be ideal for such applications, AT&T says, as it will support multiple radio interfaces, enable more spectrum efficiency and take advantage of SND and NFV.

    Unfortunately, 5G networks are still several years away as the international standards body, 3GPP, isn't expected to complete the first phase of setting standards until 2018.

    Image courtesy Paul Sancya, AP Photo

    Permalink to story.

  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,294   +662

    But..but....the bandwidth crisis!! Oh well, I guess that was just another lie - but we already knew that.
    Timonius and veLa like this.
  3. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 271   +127

    My first thought was how much will my wireless pointlessly increase by to "cover" these costs..
    Timonius and veLa like this.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    They are also phasing out 2G. Received mail stating that one of our phones will need to be replaced, once AT&T makes changes to their network. It was a courtesy message to allow time for upgrading before being shut out.
  5. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,294   +662

    "Now that 4G is inching closer to being phased out.."

    I forgot to mention earlier that this line confused me. Maybe they meant 2G...? Nobody is even talking about retiring 3G yet so I have no idea what the writer is saying here.
    Fabio Turati and cliffordcooley like this.
  6. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Addict Posts: 183   +81

    Like we need a 1 Gbps connection on our phones now... Not to be the "4G ought to be enough for anybody" advocate here, but what we really need is better batteries. There are precious few phones that make it through a day with 4G data on all the time, I can only imagine what higher speeds will do to them.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    My issue is the data caps don't really support any of them. We need the data cap raised at least 4 fold before I can even think about using it for data. And spending $300 additional a month to get it is not an option that can be afforded.

    The 2G phone was fine for the most part because of data cap restrictions being so tight. I understand progress so being forced to upgrade doesn't bother me. Especially when a cheap 4G-LTE phone can be found for only $35. The Lumina 635 should be fine for a non-data phone. If possible it may be used with WiFi for data but that will be it. Going over the data cap can not be afforded.
  8. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Guru Posts: 371   +78

    While mobile internet technology is evolving at a pretty decent speed, we aren't seeing the data allowances that go with it.
    Yes with the new shiny 4G that my mobile provider provides me I can download a movie in minutes, but only if I am sure that that is the movie I want to watch all month while I wait for more data.

    Of course I am exaggerating, but I get 3GB of data a month for £20, for this price at some places I can get 20GB for £15, but I'll have to buy myself out of my contract.
  9. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,157   +195

    I hope this statement is untrue. I'd rather have a 4g connection on its way to obsolescence than having a capped internet data service.

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