AT&T expects to achieve data rates of 1Gb/s during a dual-city 5G trial by the end of 2017, the company confirmed.

The US operator is set to begin the latest phase of its next generation network trial in the coming months, with initial rates expected to reach 400Mb/s. As the company densifies the network and adds carrier aggregation and LTE-License Assisted Access technology, it expects to take theoretical rates up to 1GB/s in some areas.

AT&T’s trials are taking place in Austin, Texas and Indianapolis, Indiana. To support its development of 5G the company is also installing two new test beds in its Austin R&D facility, expanding on previous 5G-related technology trials conducted at the site through 2016.

The operator revealed the update during an event in San Francisco yesterday, where it also discussed its move to network function virtualisation, which it aims to deploy across 55 per cent of its footprint by the year-end. AT&T previously announced its SDN target was 75 per cent by 2020, with current figures standing at 34 per cent.

Its move to virtualised networking is being developed under the company’s Indigo banner. AT&T CSO and Group President John Donovan said Indigo would enable a: “world where it isn’t just your connection speeds that are accelerating, but every element of the network becomes more seamless, efficient and capable. It is a living, evolving, upgradeable platform.”