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AT&T Expanding Fixed Wireless 5G Trials to Additional Markets

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Work with Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia, and Intel to Expand Fixed Wireless 5G Trials to 3 Additional Cities

AT&T is expanding its fixed wireless 5G trials to business and residential customers in Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and South Bend, Indiana by the end of the year.

In June, we launched our second fixed wireless 5G trial in Austin with local businesses. This included a car wash, a church and other small businesses. We also launched a test site at an apartment unit.

Since then, we’ve gained new insights into millimeter wave (mmWave) performance and propagation. We’ve also learned more about how things like foliage, building materials, device placement, surrounding environment and weather impact the signal and system in a real-world environment

We’re seeing speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second and latency rates well under 10 milliseconds for the radio link at customer trial locations in Austin.  We also continue to conduct outdoor pre-standards mobile 5G testing.

As one of the top North American wireless carrier contributors into the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless standards body’s work on 5G standards, we’re contributing key trial findings from Austin into the standards process.

“In Austin, we see all types of weather and substantial foliage,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design, AT&T. “Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G. And in doing so, we’re learning how to better design our network for the future.”

At the same time, trial participants in Austin are experiencing a glimpse into the future and seeing the real-life benefits that tomorrow’s 5G will offer.

“We’ve been giving Austinites the best car wash and service experiences for over 20 years, and this trial sounded like a way to make those experiences even better. Think about it – everyone’s on their phones in the waiting room. Now, our customers can pass the time with entertainment on the latest internet connection,” said Dave Swenson, owner, Arbor Car Wash & Lube Center. “No one else can claim they trialed the first 5G-enabled car wash.”

At the apartment unit, we set up a fixed wireless 5G home with multiple applications running simultaneously over the fixed wireless 5G connection. We streamed DIRECTV NOW, 360 video, and international videoconferencing – demonstrating how people can live, work, and play in a connected home of the future.

We are applying key learnings from Austin to the coming trials in Waco, Kalamazoo, and South Bend and expect to learn even more.

In these markets, we plan to increase the number of participants and expand the physical footprint. We will continue to test fixed and mobile wireless solutions operating in mmWave spectrum in the field and our testbeds. Learnings from these new fixed wireless 5G trials will help speed up standards based deployment as early as late 2018

Trial participants in the new markets may include universities, hospitals, churches, restaurants, and other small businesses. Participants will be able to stream premium live TV via DIRECTV NOW and experience faster broadband services, all over a 5G internet connection.

“We’ve been testing and demonstrating 5G technologies with AT&T for over a year and now we’re expanding the scope of our trial to AT&T customers in Waco,” said Joakim Sorelius, head of Product Area Network Systems at Ericsson. “Ericsson is providing an end to end solution that includes new 28GHz radios, virtualized RAN and a full 5G virtualized Core. By testing the technologies in the live commercial-like environment and trialing new 5G use cases together, we are able to gain valuable experience in preparation for commercial deployments based on 3GPP New Radio (NR) technology.”

“The extension of these trials into additional cities builds on our long-term collaboration with AT&T and our industry partners,” said Sandra Rivera, senior vice president and general manager of Intel Corporation’s Network Platforms Group and 5G executive sponsor. “By taking what we’re learning with the Intel® 5G Mobile Trial Platform in Austin to new markets, we’re able to test more real-world applications of 5G technology with our infrastructure partners as an ecosystem, from the network, cloud and device to make 5G a reality.”

“Samsung’s end-to-end 5G solution lets AT&T customers experience this next generation wireless service,” said Wilf Norrlinger, vice president & general manager of Sales, Networks, Samsung Electronics America. “Samsung will deliver its 5G network solution in South Bend, Indiana for this trial. This includes a 5G router for businesses and homes. The foundation is built on Samsung’s 5G RFIC chipset and virtualized core and vRAN so deploying and operating is faster and easier.”

“Nokia is excited to be working with AT&T to advance 5G and take our learnings from the lab to the real world with AT&T enterprise and residential consumers,” said Ricky Corker, executive vice president and head of North America for Nokia. “This deployment will offer a good environment to test a multitude of new use cases and deployment challenges within our fixed trial, but also as we extend this to include mobility.”

Pre-standards 5G trials will accelerate commercial deployment as early as late 2018

We’re doing 5G trials now, before standards are released. This lets us learn about 5G and mmWave characteristics to prepare for network planning and deployment. We can contribute those learnings in real time as standards are being developed.  

We’re aggressively deploying equipment, investing in the right mix of spectrum and technology, and laying the foundation for our evolution to 5G while 5G standards are being finalized. This is a major step on our journey to deliver state-of-the-art 5G speeds as soon as late 2018.

In addition to Austin, Indianapolis is our second metro with 5G Evolution.

Thanks to the targeted acceleration activity within 3GPP, and with lessons learned during these trials, we expect commercial equipment to be available within 6 months of the completion of the 5G Release 15 standard. In contrast, LTE equipment wasn’t available for a year to 18 months after the LTE standard was complete.

*About AT&T

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