US telecommunications incumbent AT&T has announced that it will expand its 5G trials to three additional US cities by the end of the year. The operator has already adopted an aggressive approach to developing the next-generation technology - but its latest statement is indicative of its desire to ramp up operations in its attempts to be in a position to deploy 5G technology by the end of 2018.
In a statement released to the press, the US telecommunications colossus said it would conduct fixed wireless 5G trials in Waco, Texas, Kalamazoo, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana in later half of this year. It made the announcement following the successful launch of its fixed wireless trial in Austin, Texas with a host of local businesses.
AT&T has claimed that it has garnered a lot of useful information and gained new insights into (mmWave) performance and propagation since commencing the tests in Austin, and has disclosed seeing speeds of up to 1GBps and latency rates well below 10 milliseconds.
The US operator now aims to use the additional trials in the US cities mentioned above to increase the number of participants and expand the physical footprint for 5G technology. It has been further disclosed that AT&T strategic plan with the next wave of testing is to reach universities, hospitals, restaurants and other small medium enterprises with the next-generation technology.
The trials in the Waco, Michigan and Indiana will be very similar to those conducted in Texas - as participants will be allowed to stream premium live TV via DirecTV Now - as well as gain access to faster broadband services thanks to the 5G connection.
VP of AT&T's wireless network architecture, Marachel Knight said moving the testing program away from the lab and into the physical environment is able to convey to them key information and insights into the technology. He said: "Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G."
In addition to these tests, AT&T is in collaboration with Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia and Intel on other 5G-related projects. A representative of AT&T said it would continue to invest aggressively in equipment - spectrum and technology, which will lay the foundation for 5G standards that still haven't been finalized yet.
Despite the uncertainty in relation to the standardization of 5G, AT&T has claimed it is targeting a commercial deployment date of 2018, with the deployment likely to happen closer to the end of the year.
Its major competitor Verizon is also aiming for a 2018 launch, and is currently conducting pre-commercial trials for fixed wireless 5G in 11 cities.