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AT&T to Show Off Standards-Based 5G in Austin

Dan Jones

AT&T has just been awarded an experimental radio license by the FCC to test standards-based 5G in the convention center in Austin, Texas, from the end of July.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) said in January 2018 that it plans to launch 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) -based mobile 5G in up to 12 markets by the end of the year. The license now indicates that AT&T is ready to start some very public tests for a month on the technology that will become the basis of its next-generation network. (See AT&T Reveals Initial 5G Cities and AT&T Wants a Mobile 5G Test in Burbank.)

AT&T will run "up to 3" 28GHz fixed base stations in the convention center with connections to "up to 6" compatible user devices at up to 100 meters. AT&T promises demonstrations of 4K TV, volumetric video and eSports, as well mobile gaming, over the air, and more. [Ed note: eSports involves watching people online playing multi-player computer games. The kids say it's "fetch."]

AT&T notes in its application:

    The industry standards organization, 3rd Generation Partnership Project ("3GPP"), has developed 5G standards that became available in 2018. 5G systems will utilize advanced antenna technologies with beamforming and multiple in multiple out ("MIMO") technology, as well as more efficient coding and modulation schemes. These technologies are expected to result in higher spectral efficiencies, reduce latency to 1-5 milliseconds, and enable gigabyte per-second (Gbps) mobile and fixed broadband services, significantly faster than today’s average 4G speeds using long-term evolution (“LTE) connections.

The operator hasn't specified if it will use the standalone or non-standalone version of the 5G specification yet. AT&T promises more information on the demo when data is available.

Nonetheless, AT&T is still working to a tight deadline to deliver 5G in 12 US markets. With fewer than five months remaining, it has promised to switch the new service on in selected markets.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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