INTERVIEW: AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch (pictured) took a potshot at rival Verizon’s plan to launch fixed wireless access (FWA) 5G, explaining his company preferred to focus on a launch based on global standards.
At the recent Mobile World Congress Americas, Fuetsch told Mobile World Live AT&T wanted to go “where the industry is going”, unlike Verizon which is launching a network based on its own proprietary solution.
AT&T “didn’t spend any time or effort” on a proprietary approach, unlike its biggest rival, because “we didn’t want to throw anything away”.
Verizon somewhat stole a march on rivals after launching its FWA 5G service at the start of this month, while AT&T is targeting a commercial mobile 5G launch in 12 US cities later this year, based on global 3GPP standards.
Fuetsch added AT&T never really had “much of a fixation on fixed”, which is why it was targeting a mobile launch first.
“Our service is mobile 5G standards-compliant. If you’re in a 5G zone, and you walk out of that zone and into an area covered by our LTE network, it will seamlessly fall back onto LTE and we think that is a really big differentiation over the fixed play others are doing,” he said.
Fuetsch conceded it will take until 2019 and 2020 for a raft of 5G devices to come to the fore. In the meantime, AT&T will rely on its Puck device, which Fuetsch described as a small portable hotspot, to give customers a feel for “the power of 5G” in 2018.
The puck will “provide gigabit plus service” and connect to “any Wi-Fi enabled” device including smartphones and tablets: “It is something to get out there early in the market and show people how powerful 5G can be.”
Fuetsch also discussed 5G testing and mmWave spectrum capabilities. Click here for more.Subscribe to our daily newsletter