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.