AT&T Makes First Mobile 5G Millimeter Wave Data Transfer

Telecom names additional 5G cities and announces Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung as major 5G equipment suppliers.

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At its first Spark technology conference in San Francisco, AT&T said Sept. 10 that it plans to introduce mobile 5G in sections of five additional U.S. cities––Houston, Jacksonville, Louisville, New Orleans, and San Antonio––before the end of this year.

These new cities are in addition to seven cities where the huge telecom already announced plans to launch mobile 5G in 2018: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Raleigh and Waco, Texas.

In early 2019, AT&T said it would introduce mobile 5G in parts of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.

Another major telecom provider, Verizon, is planning to roll out 5G connectivity in Indianapolis, Houston, Los Angeles and Sacramento this year. It has been testing 5G in 11 markets: Ann Arbor, Mich.; Atlanta, Ga.; Bernardsville, N.J.; Brockton, Mass.; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colo.; Houston, Texas; Miami, Fla.; Sacramento, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; and Washington, D.C.

So, at long last, 5G is actually on the way to a city or town near you in the next 12 to 24 months.

World’s First Standards-Based Mobile 5G Millimeter Wave Connection

Last weekend, in Waco, Texas, working with key technology collaborators, AT&T said it made the world’s first wireless 5G data transfer over millimeter wave using standards-based, production equipment with a mobile form factor device. This was fully compliant with global standards, the company said.

”We’re at the dawn of something new that will define the next decade and generation of connectivity,” AT&T Communications CTO Andre Fuetsch told eWEEK in a media advisory. “Future smart factories and retailers, self-driving cars, untethered virtual and augmented realities, and other yet-to-be-discovered experiences will grow up on tomorrow’s 5G networks. Much like 4G introduced the world to the gig economy, mobile 5G will jump start the next wave of innovation.”

AT&T’s 5G deployment strategy includes using millimeter wave spectrum to deploy 5G in pockets of dense areas, where demand on the network is high and extra capacity and coverage is needed most. In other parts of urban areas and in suburban and rural areas, the company plans to deploy 5G on its mid- and low-band spectrum holdings. 

Fuetsch said he’s been encouraged by the performance of mmWave in the 5G trials and found that it performs better than expected in delivering ultra-high wireless speeds under a variety of conditions.

5G Evolution Now Live in more than 200 Markets

In addition, AT&T’s foundational 5G Evolution technology is now live in more than 200 markets and will reach 400-plus markets this year.  5G Evolution markets are locations where AT&T has deployed the latest technologies that enable peak theoretical wireless speeds of at least 400 megabits per second on capable devices.

Forlast weekend’s successful Waco activation, the AT&T engineering teams used a Qualcomm Technologies’ smartphone form factor test device with integrated Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem and Ericsson 5G-NR capable radios connected to the telecom’s virtual 3X standards compliant core. This helped to ensure that when smartphones and other mobile devices are available to consumers, the mobile 5G network will be ready to go, AT&T said.

To help AT&T build its mobile, nationwide 5G network, the company selected Ericsson, Nokia  and Samsung as technology suppliers. Working with these three suppliers, the telecom already has started deploying 3GPP Release 15 compliant equipment in a handful of early 5G cities.

eWEEK will continue filing regular reports on the rollout of 5G connectivity from various telecoms and tech vendors.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...