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AT&T to Expand Fixed Wireless 5G Trials

AT&T said it plans to expand its fixed wireless 5G trials to three additional markets by the end of the year -- Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Mich.; and South Bend, Ind.

That plan followed AT&T’s launch of a second 5G trial in Austin in June that involved local businesses, including a car wash and a church, as well as an apartment unit, which is using the technology to deliver high-bandwidth services such as DirecTV Now (AT&T’s OTT TV service), 360-degree video and international videoconferencing.

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In the Austin trial, which is utilizing millimeter wave spectrum, AT&T said it’s seeing speeds up to 1 Gbps and latency rates “well under 10 milliseconds,” AT&T said, noting that it’s continuing to conduct outdoor pre-standard mobile 5G tests.

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AT&T, which is also trialing the technology in Indianapolis, said it’s hopeful that the 5G trials will accelerate standards-based deployments by as early as late 2018.

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“In Austin, we see all types of weather and substantial foliage,” Marachel Knight, AT&T’s senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design, said in a statement. “Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G. And in doing so, we’re learning how to better design our network for the future.”

Tech partners in the trials include Ericsson (28GHz radios, virtualized RAN and a 5G virtualized core), chipmaker Intel Corp., Samsung (virtualized core, vRAN, and 5G home routers), and Nokia.