AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) will collaborate with Ericsson and Intel in order to start the first 5G trials in the U.S, during 2016. 5G connections will present a new stage of extremely fast internet speed, since they will be a hundred times faster than 4G LTE connections.
According to the multinational telecommunications corporation, scientists at AT&T Labs have been working for years to develop the technology and fill new patents. Intel and Ericsson are also part of the plan. The three companies will start the first 5G trials over the summer.
It is expected that Austin will have 5G wireless connectivity in some locations since the communications company will roll out field trials of 5G technologies in the region before the end of 2016, said AT&T on Friday in a press release.
5G technology will probably deliver speeds of up to 10Gbps, which is between 10-100 times faster than current 4G LTE speeds. AT&T wants to change the way we use the internet, it stressed that in the future, customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per seconds, instead of megabits per second.
For instance, a TV show would be downloaded in less than 3 seconds. Latency is another feature that will be enhanced with the usage of 5G networks, which will make the first boosts of connection faster. In other words, users will wait for less time until a video starts, after they press the play button. AT&T wants 5G latency in the range of 1 to 5 milliseconds, the company said.
“New experiences like virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more are about to test networks like never before,” said John Donovan, Chief Strategy Officer and Group President, AT&T Technology and Operations.
Donovan describes the technological experiences of the future as “immersive, pervasive and responsive to customers”. The objective of 5G is to make them a reality. He added that AT&T will take 5G to its maximum potential, since it will be built on a software-centric architecture that will be able to adapt itself to the demand of users, allowing them to have more control of their network services.
The internet consumption in the United States has been increasing since the last nine years. According to AT&T, its data traffic on wireless network grew more than 150,000% from 2007 to 2015. Video is the content that generates the most consumption in the country, just in 2015 it represented 60 percent of the data traffic recorded by AT&T. Once 5G standards are set, the company wants to make the first commercial deployments, meanwhile it will continue to evolve the 4G LTE network.
“AT&T’s 5G field trials will play an important role in ensuring rapid and wide-scale adoption of this next generation mobile technology,” said Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Radio, Ericsson.
The cloud and the Internet of Things will be part of the daily life of millions of people by the end of the decade. Bansal said that Ericsson is enabling AT&T to move beyond 5G lab tests to obtain a better understanding of 5G’s potential, which will redefine the technology environment and market.
On the other hand, Aicha Evans, corporate vice president and general manager of the Intel Communication and Devices Group, said that industry collaboration is needed to carry out the first commercial deployments of 5G. As a response, Intel is working alongside other companies such as AT&T to offer a richer internet experience to users.
AT&T said it wants to virtualize 75 percent of its network by 2020, since it will lower internet delivery costs. As a result, the company introduced last year a new unlimited wireless data offer for its DIRECTV and AT&T users, that costs $100 per month.
Verizon Wireless, which has more than 137 million subscribers in the U.S., is also carrying out 5G field trials. Roger Gurnani, chief information and technology architect for Verizon, said last year that the company expects the first commercial deployments to begin in 2017, said CNET.
If plans develop as announced, Verizon would be the first U.S. carrier to offer 5G. In 2010, the same company had already launched 4G technology in several cities. Gurnani remarked that the future of the internet is going to bring more stuff than what he can describe. That is why Verizon wants to completely focus on 5G field trials and accelerating the technology, he added.
Which countries have the fastest 4G internet connections?
According to a 2015 report made by OpenSignal, a company dedicated to creating wireless coverage maps, the best performing networks are in Asia and Europe. New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Denmark are among the highlights.
The top 5 fastest countries are New Zealand, Singapore, Romania, South Korea and Denmark, respectively, with speeds between 26 MBps and 36 Mbps. The average 4G LTE speed in the U.S is around 10 Mbps. On the other hand, the top 5 countries with the best coverage are South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Kuwait and Singapore, respectively.
The future of 5G seems promising, countries like South Korea are expecting to deploy the first trials in 2019, when the Winter Olympics are going to take place in Pyeongchang. On the other hand, Japan also wants to have 5G networks by 2020, in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“It’s a very aggressive timeline,” said Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer of telecommunications equipment supplier Ericsson, last year.