AT&T on Friday rolled out a roadmap to 5G, with trials beginning in Austin, Texas.
AT&T will be working with Ericsson and Intel to deploy 5G technologies such as millimeter wave, network function virtualization (NFV), and software-defined networking (SDN).
The company expects trials of 5G technologies to provide wireless connectivity to fixed locations in Austin before the end of the year. The aim is to provide speeds at 10 to 100 times the speed of today’s 4G LTE networks, as well as lower latency and improved capacity.
John Donovan, chief strategy officer and and group president of AT&T Technology and Operations, said in a statement that the next-generation networks will allow for new experiences, such as virtual reality and self-driving cars.
“These technologies will be immersive, pervasive and responsive to customers,” Donovan said. “5G will help make them a reality. 5G will reach its full potential because we will build it on a software-centric architecture that can adapt quickly to new demands and give customers more control of their network services. Our approach is simple – deliver a unified experience built with 5G, software-defined networking (SDN), Big Data, security and open source software.”
AT&T says that 60 percent of the data traffic on its network in 2015 was video. The company expects 4K video, virtual reality and IoT to drive the next wave of traffic growth.
Verizon is also rolling out field trials of 5G and has filed comments with the FCC urging the commission to make super high frequency spectrum available to mobile operators for the deployment of 5G services using millimeter wave technology.
Specifically, Verizon asked the commission to allow 28GHz and 39 GHz licensees to use their licenses for mobile services and auction spectrum in those bands that is not already licensed. The carrier also encouraged the commission to unify the 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands into a single 3 GHz swath of continuous spectrum.
According to Verizon, such actions will “unleash” millimeter wave spectrum and “help usher in 5G services for U.S. consumers.” The combination of the 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands, the carrier said, will support the creation of multiple licenses with bandwidths of 200 MHz or more that would be “attractive” to industry players looking for more bandwidth.