AT&T Eyes 5G Business Trials as Verizon Plans Commercial Launch

AT&T and Verizon both promise the launch of commercial 5G services this year.

The telecommunications rivals each are detailing plans as to how they will follow up various trials they’ve performed over the past year.

AT&T says it hopes to roll out 5G trials with business customers in 2018 as it makes mobile 5G available to a dozen consumer markets. The telecommunications company announced some of its 5G goals Thursday as it recapped what it accomplished in 2017 in the area of 5G technology.

AT&T's Melissa Arnoldi

AT&T’s Melissa Arnoldi

“5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president of AT&T Technology and Operations. “We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more.”

The benefits of 5G are more than faster phone speeds, according to AT&T, but also latency driven by edge computing.

The company says one of the main challenges with 5G is waiting on the international wireless standards body to solidify requirements and specifications for manufacturers. AT&T says it helped drive the acceleration of standards by the 3GPP organization.

“With these specifications now available, hardware, chipset and device manufacturers can start development. This allows us to provide mobile 5G services sooner. We’re confident this latest standards milestone will allow us to bring 5G to market faster without compromising its long-term vision,” AT&T wrote in its Thursday announcement.

AT&T promised big things for 5G and various software-defined networking technologies last year. The company says it has been building the foundation for its 5G Evolution mobile service in 23 metro areas.

Verizon and Samsung said they will partner to launch commercial 5G services in Sacramento, California, in the second half of 2018. Samsung will provide Verizon with fixed wireless access (FWA) network offerings. Sacremento was where the two companies launched a pilot in 2017. Verizon ran 11 pilots for 5G, and seven were with Samsung.

“The industry has been discussing 5G connectivity for years, and through our joint collaboration with partners like Samsung, we are beginning to make it a reality for our customers,” said Ed Chan, Verizon’s chief technology architect and senior vice president of network planning. “Sacramento is an ideal place to begin deploying 5G broadband services, providing a progressive environment for creating future use cases.”

Verizon reports that its trials withstood inclement weather conditions. The 19th floor of a “multi-dwelling unit” received 5G radio signals, and broadband service worked even in non-LOS (line-of-sight) connections.

Read the respective announcements from AT&T and Verizon/Samsung.

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