AT&T is trying to get a better grip on video – specifically delivery of its DirecTV products in a 5G environment.
The carrier this week announced its DirecTV Now video service will be part of its latest fixed wireless 5G trial in Austin, Texas.
AT&T indicated the trial will use millimeter wave spectrum alongside Ericsson’s 5G RAN and Intel’s 5G Mobile Trial platform to deliver an “ultra-fast” internet connection to participants over the course of several months. This connection, which is expected to hit speeds of up to 1 Gbps, can be used by trial customers to stream DirecTV Now video content, the carrier said. AT&T said residential, small business, and enterprise locations are all part of the test group.
The trial is the second fixed wireless test run from the carrier in Austin – AT&T late last year teamed up with Intel on a millimeter wave business trial, providing a 5G network experience in one of Intel’s offices. That test also aimed for the gigabit speed mark to enable multiple use cases, including internet access, VPN, Unified Communications, and 4K video streams. A Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) service was also offered using 15 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum, AT&T said at the time.
“This trial, part of our long-term collaboration with AT&T that builds on the success of our first fixed wireless 5G Austin trial, provides the business and consumer participants a chance to experience the type of services and market opportunities they can expect in their daily lives with enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-fast speeds and reliable network capabilities,” Sandra Rivera, Intel’s Network Platforms Group SVP and GM and 5G executive sponsor, commented Tuesday. “Intel, AT&T, and Ericsson’s work together, trialing early usages of 5G technologies and the experiences it will bring to businesses, demonstrates the importance of industry collaborations and need for seamless flow of data across the network, cloud, and device to make 5G a reality.”
This isn’t the first time AT&T has used millimeter wave spectrum to deliver DirecTV Now either. The carrier back in February teamed up with Nokia on a test that successfully streamed DirecTV Now content via a fixed wireless 5G connection at 39 GHz. More on that here.
AT&T is definitely not the only one feeling out fixed wireless, though.
Verizon notably launched fixed wireless 5G customer trials in 11 cities in February, and U.S. Cellular has also been working with Nokia on fixed wireless 5G tests. At the start of this year, Maine-based broadband provider Redzone Wireless launched what it branded “5G fixed wireless broadband” using 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum in its home state. Redzone last month said it was looking to expand deployments of that technology outside of Maine. More on how it’s planning to do that and why can be found here.