CHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — 5G is moving from an idea to an opportunity.
AT&T has been pitching its 5G network upgrade to the channel for more than a year, but the company on Wednesday illustrated several specific 5G use cases where solution providers can help customers.
Robert Boyanovsky, AT&T’s vice president of enterprise mobility, spoke to Channel Partners Evolution attendees with the intention of making 5G practical.
“For the last couple of years, there’s been a lot of hype around the industry about 5G and what it can do,” he said. “And I’m trying to make this real because we have been innovating, and we have real experiences now on our network with AT&T as a service.”
Below are three examples.
AT&T ran a fixed wireless 5G trial at Magnolia Markets at the Silos, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ retail complex. Boyanovsky said AT&T pointed a millimeter wave small cell at Magnolia and ran the location’s LAN network with its FlexWare virtualization solution. The 5G benefited the location’s highly mobile customer base, which according to the Dallas News, ate up bandwidth promoting their experiences on social media.
Retail in general stands to benefit from the network upgrade, according to Boyanovsky. The opportunities include a faster point-of-sale process, lower latency and higher reliability for an increasingly “video-centric” environment and augmented reality.
Another key vertical is financial services. 5G could power “mobile ATM trucks” and make “virtual tellers” and facial recognition more efficient.
AT&T has already proclaimed that 5G-powered edge computing could allow doctors and other health-care professionals access more imaging and information via their mobile devices.
Boyanovsky also answered the question he usually hears first about 5G: How fast is it? He said AT&T’s 4G LTE network speed reaches 75 Mbps on a smartphone during a Dallas evening. AT&T’s pilots have shown that 5G will be significantly faster. But according to Boyanovsky, it’s not just the speed that matters; it’s reliability.
“Today’s mobile network is a shared network. It is not used for mission-critical capabilities,” he said. “This new network is born in software. This is a software-defined network.”
Boyanovsky listed reliability as one of five major pillars of 5G. Another crucial aspect is that it’s data-driven.
“Because this is software-defined networking, the ability to grab that information from the wireless link and to do something is becoming very real,” he said.
Massive device connectivity, low latency, and increased speed and capacity are the other three pillars.
AT&T announced last week that it will launch mobile 5G in 12 cities this year and reach 19 early in 2019.
— James Anderson (@JamesAndersonCP) October 10, 2018
AT&T Business used its recent summit to lay out its IoT strategy, which is considered a major beneficiary of 5G. AT&T Partner Solutions Channel Chief Zee Hussain has often described the threefold relationship among fiber, 5G and IoT.