US operator AT&T provided more detail on its planned 5G rollout, boosting the number of cities it aims to launch mobile services in this year to 12, with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung as its kit suppliers.
AT&T has been working with Samsung on 5G trials including a fixed 5G pilot in South Bend, Indiana, but the operator’s latest statement is a significant fillip for the South Korean company. The US is a fertile hunting ground for the company because of the lack of competition from Huawei and ZTE, which are unable to play in the market. Samsung has already scored big 5G wins with AT&T’s rivals Sprint and Verizon.
The five new cities on the 5G roster for 2018 are Houston, Jacksonville, Louisville, New Orleans, and San Antonio. They join Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Raleigh, and Waco.
In early 2019, the 12 will be joined by Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose: “From these 19 cities, we’ll continue to expand,” the company said in a statement.
The move comes as AT&T said it had completed the world’s first 5G data transfer over mmWave spectrum using standards-based production equipment and mobile form factor devices: “not a lab, not pre-production hardware, not emulators, and fully compliant with global standards”.
The company used a Qualcomm smartphone form factor device and Ericsson radio equipment in its Waco deployment. Qualcomm and Ericsson previously highlighted their work together.
AT&T said in its trials it was “encouraged” by the performance of 5G using mmWave frequencies, stating the results were better than expected and the technology was “successful in delivering ultra-high wireless speeds under a variety of conditions”.
In addition to using mmWave technology in areas of dense traffic, AT&T is looking to complement this with mid-band and low-band spectrum where coverage is more of an issue. In the mid-band, AT&T is now set to deploy 5G technology in the CBRS band (3.5GHz to 3.7GHz), working with Samsung (radio and base stations) and CommScope (spectrum access system).
The operator plans to start by using LTE technology with CBRS frequencies before moving to 5G. This will primarily be used for home and enterprise broadband services.
AT&T is also working on 5G-enabled applications at its AT&T Foundry innovation centre in Plano, which will be joined by sites in Atlanta and Palo Alto.Subscribe to our daily newsletter