AT&T says it will test the next evolution of wireless technology known as “5G” in Austin, Texas by the end of this year. The communications giant joins rival Verizon in exploring a network that could deliver data 100 times as fast as current 4G service known as LTE.
This is big news for wireless networks as smartphones, tablets and other devices become more capable of displaying video and demand by consumers as well as businesses grows for ever-faster service.
If proven, 5G technology could deliver data to homes at broadband speeds similar to fiber networks.
AT&T (NYSE: T) said it will work with Ericsson and Intel on the project. acknowledging that network demand for data is surging.
“Data traffic on AT&T’s wireless network grew more than 150,000% from 2007 through 2015, driven largely by video,” AT&T pointed out. “More than 60% of the data traffic on our total network was video in 2015. 4K video, virtual reality, and IoT will drive the next wave of traffic growth. 5G is ideal for those bandwidth-hungry applications because it will support multiple radio interfaces, enable more spectrum efficiency, and take advantage of SDN and network function virtualization.”
So how much faster will 5G be?
“We expect 5G to deliver speeds 10-100 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE connections,” AT&T said in laying out its roadmap for deployment.
“Customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per second, not megabits. For reference, at one gigabit per second, you can download a TV show in less than 3 seconds. Customers will also see much lower latency with 5G. Latency, for example, is how long it takes after you press play on a video app for the video to start streaming on your device. We expect 5G latency in the range of 1 to 5 milliseconds.”
Verizon was first to announce 5G field trials.
“I know Verizon says they will be first, but we are right there with them,” John Donovan, AT&T’s chief strategy officer and group president for technology and operations, told Bloomberg news.
- What is 5G? Separating myth from reality
Here’s a sampling of headlines from around the web that reflect the significance of the 5G story:
- AT&T gets ready to test 5G technologies this 2016
Engadget: The carrier plans to test its new network in Austin, Texas by the end of the year.
- AT&T Joins Verizon in Race to Develop Faster Wireless Networks
Bloomberg: AT&T Inc. is joining the mobile speed race with Verizon Communications Inc., outlining plans for faster wireless technology to meet the increasing demand for sports, movies and even smartphone access to home appliances. AT&T has chosen Ericsson AB …
- AT&T set to test speedy ‘5G’
USA TODAY: AT&T said it is ready to conduct “5G” field trials by the end of the year, following a similar announcement from Verizon. 5G is shorthand for the “fifth generation” of wireless and it translates into speeds, AT&T says, that are 10-100 times …
- AT&T jumps into the fast lane with ultraspeedy 5G field trial
CNET: 5G is coming. Eventually. 5G, which stands for the fifth generation of wireless technology, promises a significant speed boost for Internet connections. On a 5G network, you could download the latest “Star Wars” film in seconds, not the minutes needed …
- AT&T to Start Testing 5G Wireless Technology This Year
Wall Street Journal: AT&T Inc. plans to begin its first trials of fifth-generation cellular technology, or 5G, this year as wireless carriers look for higher speeds and more capacity amid the growth of mobile data usage. Cellular networks have evolved as the use of mobile …