AT&T Makes Major Statement on 5G Plans
by J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor, AGL eDigest, 12 January 2017
In terms of 5G announcements, this year is starting off where 2016 left off only this time it was AT&T setting the tone. But instead of the Mobile World Congress, the venue was the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
AT&T announced its “5G Evolution plans for 2017 and beyond,” highlighting initiatives in LTE, 5G and fiber. The road to 5G includes continued deployment of LTE Advanced, achieving peak theoretical speeds of a gig at some cell sites in the next year through three-way and four-way carrier aggregation. Look for a 5G video trial with DirecTV in Austin, Texas, late in 2017. And the carrier said it is offering gigabit connections on its fiber network at nearly 4 million locations across 46 metros nationwide.
John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations, emphasized that the carrier is not waiting for final standards to move forward on 5G trials, which he expects will “lay the foundation for our evolution to 5G.” The carrier wants to avoid falling behind in 5G development, according to Joe Madden, principal analyst, Mobile-Experts.
“The culture of AT&T and Verizon is different,” Madden said. “Verizon is making lots of announcements about their deployment of a network, while AT&T has spent more time focused on partnerships and acquisitions of video content. They want to purchase Time Warner and they merged with DirecTV to consolidate the market for video content.”