AT&T Expanding 5G Network Tests Into Three More U.S. Cities by End of 2017

In early 2016, AT&T began its first test of a fixed wireless 5G cellular network within Austin, Texas and expanded that test to new local businesses this past June, including a car wash, an apartment unit, and a church. Today, the carrier announced that its test of next-generation 5G cellular connectivity will be expanding to new businesses and residential customers in three new U.S. cities by the end of 2017: Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and South Bend, Indiana.

AT&T noted back in 2016 that the 5G trials introduced download speeds in gigabits per second, improving upon the normal megabits per second that customers on current wireless networks see, allowing 5G customers to "download a TV show in less than 3 seconds." In today's press release, AT&T said that it has seen speeds up to 1 gigabit per second in Austin, and latency rates "well under 10 milliseconds." In 2016, the carrier predicted 5G latency at somewhere between 1 to 5 milliseconds.
In the Austin apartment unit, AT&T set up a fixed wireless 5G home with various apps running simultaneously on the same connection, with usage centering on streaming DIRECTV NOW, 360-degree video, and international video calls without lag. While the test remained at fixed locations in Austin for over a year, AT&T said that its findings demonstrated "how people can live, work, and play in a connected home of the future."

AT&T said that its findings in Austin will help during the expansion to the three new cities, with new insights gained into millimeter wave performance and propagation, and how obstructive objects (foliage, buildings, etc), the weather, and device placement can impact the 5G signal in the real world. As with other carriers, AT&T's 5G test data is being contributed to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a group of telecommunications organizations that oversee the development and maintenance of major communication networks.
“In Austin, we see all types of weather and substantial foliage,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design, AT&T. “Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G. And in doing so, we’re learning how to better design our network for the future.”
As it expands, the carrier said it will apply the knowledge it gained from the Austin tests, while also increasing the number of participants and expanding the physical footprint of the 5G network trials in each new city, hinting at much larger tests coming to Waco, Kalamazoo, and South Bend. In these three cities, trial participants are said to potentially include universities, hospitals, churches, restaurants, and other small businesses, bringing the ability to stream live TV and experience faster broadband services over the 5G connection.

AT&T will continue to test both fixed and mobile wireless solutions based in the millimeter wave spectrum in these field trials, and in closed "testbed" settings. The goal for the new expansion is to "help speed up" the deployment of new 5G network standards, with AT&T hoping that this deployment will happen as soon as late 2018. AT&T is working with Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia, and Intel during these trials, which also includes a test location in Indianapolis as of July, 2017.

Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have also announced interest in 5G networks, with Sprint saying its own wide-scale 5G network will launch by 2019, and T-Mobile aiming for nationwide 5G coverage by 2020. Of course, all of this progress hinges on the 3GPP first completing the 5G Release 15 standard. According to AT&T, once Release 15 is out then 5G-supported "commercial equipment" will be available within six months.

Tags: AT&T, 5G

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Apple Granted License to Test Next-Generation 5G Wireless Technology

The FCC has granted Apple a license to test next-generation 5G wireless technologies, as brought to our attention by DSLReports.


In May, Apple submitted an application for an experimental license to test wireless technology on millimeter wave spectrum bands. Millimeter wave bands provide higher bandwidth and throughput up to 10Gb/s, but they are limited by line of sight issues that can cause problems in dense urban areas.

An excerpt from Apple's application with the FCC:
Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum. These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.
Apple intends to transmit from two fixed points located at Apple-controlled facilities in Cupertino, California, where it is headquartered, and nearby Milpitas, according to its FCC application. Apple said it anticipates that it will safely conduct its experiments for a period not to exceed 12 months.

Apple will use the 28 and 39 GHz bands, which were among those opened up by the FCC last year for the purpose of next-generation 5G broadband.

It’s not entirely clear why Apple is planning to test millimeter wave performance, but it will join the likes of Google, Facebook, and major U.S. cellular carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, who are testing 5G networks in preparation to deploy the next-generation technology in the coming years.

Apple could perhaps be preparing its future iPhones to take advantage of 5G technology, or the company may have some other purpose in mind. The 28GHz band in particular has been earmarked for earth-to-space transmissions, an area Apple has been exploring based on recent hires with satellite expertise.

Tags: FCC, 5G

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Apple Files FCC Application to Test Next-Generation 5G Wireless Technology

Apple is planning to test next-generation 5G wireless technologies, according to an application document filed with the FCC and discovered by Business Insider.

Apple applied for an experimental license to test wireless technology on millimeter wave spectrum bands. Millimeter wave bands provide higher bandwidth and throughput up to 10Gb/s, but are limited by line of sight issues that cause problems in dense urban areas.
"Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum," Apple wrote in its application.

"These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks," it continued.
Apple will test the technology in two locations in Milpitas and Cupertino over a period of time that is not expected to exceed 12 months, using equipment sourced from Rohde and Schwarz, A.H. Systems, and Analog Devices. Apple will use the 28 and 39 GHz bands, which were among those opened up by the FCC last year for the purpose of next-generation 5G broadband.

It’s not entirely clear why Apple is planning to test millimeter wave performance or the purpose behind the testing. Cellular carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are currently testing 5G networks in preparation to deploy the next-generation technology in the coming years.

Apple could perhaps be preparing its future iPhones to take advantage of 5G technology, or the company may have some other purpose in mind. As Business Insider points out, the 28GHz band in particular could be of interest as it has been earmarked for earth-to-space transmissions, an area Apple has been exploring based on recent hires with satellite expertise.

Tags: FCC, 5G

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Apple Files FCC Application to Test Next-Generation 5G Wireless Technology

Apple is planning to test next-generation 5G wireless technologies, according to an application document filed with the FCC and discovered by Business Insider.

Apple applied for an experimental license to test wireless technology on millimeter wave spectrum bands. Millimeter wave bands provide higher bandwidth and throughput up to 10Gb/s, but are limited by line of sight issues that cause problems in dense urban areas.
"Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum," Apple wrote in its application.

"These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks," it continued.
Apple will test the technology in two locations in Milpitas and Cupertino over a period of time that is not expected to exceed 12 months, using equipment sourced from Rohde and Schwarz, A.H. Systems, and Analog Devices. Apple will use the 28 and 39 GHz bands, which were among those opened up by the FCC last year for the purpose of next-generation 5G broadband.

It’s not entirely clear why Apple is planning to test millimeter wave performance or the purpose behind the testing. Cellular carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are currently testing 5G networks in preparation to deploy the next-generation technology in the coming years.

Apple could perhaps be preparing its future iPhones to take advantage of 5G technology, or the company may have some other purpose in mind. As Business Insider points out, the 28GHz band in particular could be of interest as it has been earmarked for earth-to-space transmissions, an area Apple has been exploring based on recent hires with satellite expertise.

Tags: FCC, 5G

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T-Mobile Teases Plans to Launch Nationwide 5G Network in U.S. Within Three Years

T-Mobile today said it plans to roll out a 5G network in the United States starting in 2019, with a target of 2020 for full nationwide coverage.


The third-largest U.S. carrier said it will use part of its newly acquired 600 MHz low-band spectrum to deliver 5G coverage from coast to coast.
“The 600 MHz spectrum will allow 5G to be deployed nationwide, bringing the ultimate experiences to T-Mobile’s enterprise customers and consumers throughout the United States,” said Borje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson. “We will support T-Mobile US with 5G radio development for this spectrum. Commercial availability of the product will be aligned with 3GPP standardization and ecosystem support.”
5G networks will pave the way for faster data speeds and lower latency on smartphones and other cellular-enabled devices. Last year, AT&T said it reached speeds above 10 gigabits per second in early 5G lab trials, and it has even promised speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G LTE.

5G isn't expected to become a reality until at least next year, as 3GPP is still working to establish the first set of 5G standards by 2018.
T-Mobile will help drive 3GPP certification for 5G in 600 MHz. As 5G standards are defined, chipsets are delivered, and equipment comes to market, T-Mobile will quickly deploy 5G nationwide in a large swath of unused spectrum.
T-Mobile expects the first smartphones compatible with the 600 MHz spectrum to be released later this year.

In February, Verizon said it will begin offering gigabit broadband internet over a wireless 5G connection to pilot customers in 11 select U.S. markets during the first half of 2017. AT&T is also rolling out "5G Evolution" speeds in over 20 major metro areas, but as widely reported, it's not really 5G.

Tags: T-Mobile, 5G

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T-Mobile Teases Plans to Launch Nationwide 5G Network in U.S. Within Three Years

T-Mobile today said it plans to roll out a 5G network in the United States starting in 2019, with a target of 2020 for full nationwide coverage.


The third-largest U.S. carrier said it will use part of its newly acquired 600 MHz low-band spectrum to deliver 5G coverage from coast to coast.
“The 600 MHz spectrum will allow 5G to be deployed nationwide, bringing the ultimate experiences to T-Mobile’s enterprise customers and consumers throughout the United States,” said Borje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson. “We will support T-Mobile US with 5G radio development for this spectrum. Commercial availability of the product will be aligned with 3GPP standardization and ecosystem support.”
5G networks will pave the way for faster data speeds and lower latency on smartphones and other cellular-enabled devices. Last year, AT&T said it reached speeds above 10 gigabits per second in early 5G lab trials, and it has even promised speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G LTE.

5G isn't expected to become a reality until at least next year, as 3GPP is still working to establish the first set of 5G standards by 2018.
T-Mobile will help drive 3GPP certification for 5G in 600 MHz. As 5G standards are defined, chipsets are delivered, and equipment comes to market, T-Mobile will quickly deploy 5G nationwide in a large swath of unused spectrum.
T-Mobile expects the first smartphones compatible with the 600 MHz spectrum to be released later this year.

In February, Verizon said it will begin offering gigabit broadband internet over a wireless 5G connection to pilot customers in 11 select U.S. markets during the first half of 2017. AT&T is also rolling out "5G Evolution" speeds in over 20 major metro areas, but as widely reported, it's not really 5G.

Tags: T-Mobile, 5G

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China Mobile to Begin Large-Scale 5G Testing This Year

Qualcomm, ZTE, and China Mobile have announced plans to start interoperability testing and outdoor trials for the new 5G radio specifications being developed by the 3GPP group (via DigiTimes).
The interoperability testing and trials will launch in China starting in the second half of 2017, with the goal of the trials being to showcase how 5G NR technologies can efficiently achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates at lower latency and better reliability than today's network, Qualcomm stated in a company release.
After large-scale testing of 5G networks in 2017, China Mobile aims to continue with deployment testing in 2018, and commercial operations starting in 2020, according to the report. The trials will use device prototypes from Qualcomm and base station solutions from ZTE, and follow guidelines from China Mobile.

The announcement indicates an acceleration of China Mobile's schedule for 5G development in the country, as the company looks to keep abreast of mobile carriers in the U.S., Europe, Japan and South Korea.

Earlier this month, AT&T announced it would begin trialing 5G wireless technologies in the U.S. this year and said it anticipated 5G speeds to be 10 to 100 times faster than average 4G LTE connections. However, widespread rollout across AT&T's network isn't expected until 2020.

There's no information as yet on Apple's plans for 5G uptake. Appl supported LTE-Advanced – a faster standard of 4G LTE – fairly rapidly with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but the older 3G and LTE wireless technologies were both available for years before Apple adopted them. Going on AT&T's and 3GPP's timelines, a 5G iPhone is unlikely to be released for at least another three to four years.


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