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For more on how these technologies support our mobile 5G vision, please read “Setting the Record Straight on 5G Evolution.”  And if you want to learn where 5G Evolution and LTE-LAA technologies are available, how fast these technologies can make our network, and a list of capable devices, please read this blog.

Key Areas

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Fiber

The success of mobile 5G relies on a quality fiber connection to the wireless towers or small cells, which then translate the fiber connection into an ultra-fast wireless signal for customers. By putting fiber at the core of our wired and wireless networks, we’ve been laying the foundation for our 5G wireless connectivity.

We have millions of miles of fiber. We also have the largest fiber network across the 21 states where we offer home internet service, offering ultra-fast internet powered by AT&T Fiber to more than 10 million locations. By mid-2019, we plan to reach at least 14 million locations. For more on AT&T Fiber, go to att.com/getfiber.

Small Cell

By placing small cells on streetlights, utility poles and other structures we’re bringing faster speeds closer to more customers. We are deploying thousands of small cells, which lays the groundwork for future technologies such as 5G.

We also expect small cell technology to help fortify the FirstNet public safety communications network by adding more capacity for first responders where it’s needed most. This, coupled with 5G technology and Smart Cities solutions, plus existing AT&T Fiber ultra-fast Internet service, will help create a safer, more efficient, and sustainable community.

Towers

By working with more suppliers and tower companies, we’re overhauling the cost and layers associated with the traditional wireless tower model. This makes it possible for us to stay ahead of the growth in mobile data usage, giving customers access to faster speeds and a better wireless experience in more locations.

Software

5G will be our first major new technology that will be “born in the cloud” and the experience we’ve gained by leading the industry transformation to virtualization and software control will be invaluable to helping us move quickly and efficiently. 5G will ultimately enable ultra-low latency and massive machine-to-machine communications, which will be distributed in nature, and our software-defined network (SDN) control expertise will allow us to control the data flow through software. For more details on how vital software will be for a mobile 5G world read our CTO’s “software + 5G = a perfect match” blog.

Security

Security is embedded in the network as we migrate to 5G.  This enhances our security posture to prevent, detect and mitigate threats to the mobile network and devices. As a software-defined network (SDN) pioneer and innovator, our work to counter cyber threats is instrumental in shaping the 5G security standards and ecosystems. We’re working with 3GPP to create a stronger encryption algorithm for a 5G, over-the-air interface. We are also developing recommendations for the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (“CSRIC”).

Standards

Since early 2016, we’ve been one of the top North American wireless carrier contributing to 3GPP’s work on 5G standards. This includes the ability of 5G to co-exist on the same spectrum as LTE, an energy- and battery-efficient physical layer and a framework for massive MIMO. We’ve made multiple material contributions to standards for all radio access network layers. This includes the physical, protocol and systems architecture layers, as well as the system requirements, architecture, security and performance aspects of 5G. For more on how standards impact our mobile 5G approach, read this blog by AT&T’s CTO. https://about.att.com/innovationblog/5g_software_standard

Edge Computing

We’re a leader in the adoption of edge computing to bring a seamless and instant interaction to new connected applications like self-driving cars, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and robotic manufacturing where even a few extra milliseconds can mean the difference. We’re bringing the network closer to users by moving using cloud computation. Rather than travel over wireless connections to data centers hundreds or thousands of miles away, we’ll propel this data across super-responsive 5G networks to computers just a few miles away. To learn more about AT&T’s edge computing commitment, further details can be found here. https://about.att.com/story/2018/edge_update.html

Spectrum

In the U.S., AT&T’s current holdings total 145 MHz of sub-3GHz spectrum, plus access to 20MHz held by FirstNet. Winning the FirstNet award gives AT&T access to a nationwide 20MHz block of 700 MHz spectrum to construct the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). While that spectrum will naturally fulfill the needs of public safety users first, any unused FirstNet spectrum may be used to meet AT&T customer needs.

AT&T low-band holdings consist of 700 MHz (BC and DE) and Cellular (850 MHz). AT&T mid-band holdings are Personal Communications Service (PCS) in the 1900 MHz range and Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) in the 1700 MHz (uplink) and 2100 MHz (downlink) ranges. AT&T high-band includes Wireless Communication Services (WCS) in the 2300 MHz range. Further, AT&T owns spectrum in Mexico, 202 MHz, approximately 33% share of the total Mexican nationwide spectrum.