AT&T aims to bring mobile 5G services to parts of Dallas; Atlanta; and Waco, Texas by the end of this year, as the operator updated on its goal to launch the technology in a dozen cities across the US in 2018.
In a statement, AT&T said the three cities will be among the first to launch mobile 5G services, a plan first announced in January, and added it will announce additional launch cities in the coming months. As part of the planned rollout, the company also revealed it is opening a new 5G lab in Austin, Texas, “to help us meet this aggressive timeline for mobile 5G deployment”.
One of the first in-house projects at the lab is the “Advanced 5G NR Testbed System (ANTS), a 5G testbed system that is proprietary to AT&T”.
The operator said ANTS will allow it to test features on a simulated 5G network “for eventual standardisation and use on our commercial networks”.
“By re-creating a physical 5G radio environment in our labs, we have greater control over what is deployed to customers,” AT&T added.
AT&T said its initial mobile 5G deployments will be based on 3GPP standards and operate over mmWave spectrum to provide mobile 5G in some areas, and then deploy the technology on additional spectrum bands.
Up until AT&T’s announcement in January, it had appeared US operators were focused on fixed-wireless 5G launches for 2018 rather than mobile.
Indeed, questions still remain about AT&T’s planned launch. It is, at this stage, unknown which devices will support mobile 5G this year, while rival T-Mobile US blasted the plan, highlighting unanswered questions around device availability, spectrum and footprint.