The promise of 5G connectivity has long been dangled by several carriers, and now at the start of the year, AT&T is expecting that they will be the first to actually make that real by late 2018. And because they will be basing it on industry standards for 5G, they’ve actually become one of the drivers for the standards acceleration in 2017. Now that all the key elements are in place, then they are confident they will be able to provide 5G connection to the market in a few months, as well as improving the other connections that they already have, including LTE, 5G Evolution, Fixed Wireless Internet, etc.
AT&T was one of the companies that pushed for the 3GPP, the international wireless standards body, to finally complete the key elements for the 5G new radio (NR) standards. And now that the specifications like the hardware and chipset are available, the device manufacturers will be able to start development and eventually, the carriers will be able to offer 5G connection. They will also be testing it out with businesses of all sizes because 5G for them is a totally different ballgame.
Having 5G doesn’t just mean having faster Internet. One of the things that they expect to bring to users is lower latency through new apps that will be using edge computing. It just basically means that the time between you requesting data from your network to when they will be sending you the data will become really, really fast. Practical applications for that will be driverless vehicles making real-time decisions because of information they get from the sensors.
Aside from eventually launching mobile 5G to consumers, AT&T promised they’re also working on fixing the other areas, from wired, wireless, mobile, or fixed. They will be launching LTE-LAA to another 2 dozen major cities this year. 5G Evolution started rolling out in 2017 in preparation for actual 5G, and so they will continue to develop that. They’re also working on bringing LTE-M, Fixed Wireless Internet, Fixed 5G and Airgig, and Fiber for consumers and businesses.