AT&T expressed confidence in its ability to successfully launch mobile 5G services later this year, following nearly two years of trials of mmWave technology.
In a blog post, AT&T’s president of technology and operations Melissa Arnoldi said the company’s trials proved the ability of the technology in tough weather conditions including rain and snow, and found mmWave signals achieved better penetration characteristics than anticipated.
The information gathered during the trials are guiding AT&T’s “commercial 5G launches this year and will help ensure we’re building a 5G network that is both real and reliable for everyone”, Arnoldi wrote.
AT&T aims to launch mobile 5G in a dozen US cities by the year-end: in February it revealed Dallas; Atlanta; and Waco, Texas would be among them.
The operator proved mmWave’s all-weather ability during a test in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The same trial also showed the technology performed better than expected in relation to obstacles including foliage, glass and solid walls, delivering speeds of more than 1Gb/s at a distance of up to 900 feet (in line of sight conditions).
Tests in Waco, Texas delivered latency rates of between 9 milliseconds and 12 milliseconds, and supported hundreds of simultaneous connected users, while AT&T used an end-to-end 5G architecture in trials in South Bend, Indiana to yield similarly low latency.
In Waco, AT&T achieved speeds of 1.2Gb/s using a 400MHz channel of spectrum: in South Bend it achieved gigabit speeds in line of sight and some non-line of sight conditions.
The positive mmWave results are similar to those touted by Verizon, which found in trials of Fixed Wireless Access the spectrum can deliver gigabit service at a distance of up to 2,600 feet. Verizon CFO Matt Ellis also noted the operator was able to deliver service without needing line of sight.