AT&T 5G Trials to Start With Fixed 15GHz Tests

AT&T is going ahead with 5G tests this year but it won't initially be able to test all the frequencies it might want to use.

"Fixed wireless" testing will start "firstly at 15GHz, moving to 28GHz," said Tom Keathley, SVP of Wireless Network Architecture & Design at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) at the Brooklyn 5G Summit Friday.

This is because AT&T doesn't have all the compatible equipment yet to test across the multiple radio bands it wants to, the exec explains. AT&T has so far revealed that it is working with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) on 5G test equipment. Ericsson is known to be using 15GHz for at least some of its 5G test-bed. (See AT&T Lights Fire Under 5G, Plans 2016 Trials.)

AT&T's request for a radio test license asks to test 5G in the 3.5GHz, 4GHz, 15GHz and 28GHz bands. It states that Ma Bell wants to be able to do mobile trials within 5 km of the basestation.

I recently asked an AT&T representative if the test license has been granted yet, and it hadn't at that time. I've reached out to AT&T again to double-check the status now. (See AT&T Wants to Start 5G Tests in Austin.)

For the meantime, however, like Verizon Wireless , AT&T appears to be looking at fixed tests to begin with. Of course, these are the earliest -- some might say immature -- field tests of this new mobile tech in the US, so things are likely to change over time.

Verizon said Thursday that it expects to start a fixed wireless 5G pilot, or beta, sometime in 2017. (See Verizon Hits 1-Gig+ in 5G Trials, Eyes Early Applications.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

DanJones 4/25/2016 | 12:54:11 PM
Re: Verizon has already optioned XO's spectrum as well AT&T is just starting tests, I would expect them to announce more partners for trials as they start to go out into the field.
TV Monitor 4/25/2016 | 12:41:41 PM
Re: Verizon has already optioned XO's spectrum as well Here is an explanation of why AT&T took the wrong path to 5G.


"In response to a question from the audience during his keynote, Keathley declined to talk about 600 MHz because it's in a quiet period, but he did say it's possible and probably likely that the same air interface can be used for both millimeter wave and sub 6 GHz spectrum."

Sorry, the electromagnetic property of mmwave and Sub-6Ghz waves are different enough that different modulation has to be used.

This is why non-OFDM based Samsung 5G reaches 2 km range at 28 Ghz, while Ercisson's OFDM based 5G falls flat at only 100 m. OFDM as it stands is not suitable for mmwave transmission.

This is why Ericsson's 5G effort is failing, and AT&T's calculation of saving money by using same basestation to serve below 6 Ghz and 28 Ghz spectrum.
TV Monitor 4/24/2016 | 7:56:08 PM
Ericsson doesn't have a working 28 Ghz tech and AT&T bet on the wrong horse Ericsson doesn't have a working 28 Ghz 5G tech and 15 Ghz was chosen for engineering convenience, not that that spectrum would widely be available for 5G services around the globe except for Europe.

Now that it is becoming clear that the US 5G will be serviced at 28 Ghz and 39 Ghz band, Ericsson and Qualcomm are trying to catch up but it is too late for both. Samsung will ram through its proprietary 28 Ghz 5G technology as the 3GPP mmwave standard by June 2018.

As for AT&T, it must choose its vendors and technology roadmap wisely or risk falling behind the competition. Verizon chose wisely and has its 28 Ghz test network up and running already able to support mobile reception, while AT&T which bet on Ericsson doesn't even have a 28 Ghz network and have no idea when it will be ready.

KT, which is deploying the world's first 28 Ghz operational network at Pyeongchang, says dozens of carriers are observing KT's progress and are ready to commit to the technology if a successful demonstration is made in 2018.

Consequently, NTT Docomo sources were commenting to Japanese press that the 28 Ghz 5G alliance(Docomo, KT, SK Telecom, and Verizon) are urging AT&T to join them in an effort to avert a 5G format war and standardize 5G quickly enough to drop equipment prices for all. From Domoco's perspective, the real 5G rival is not Ericsson, but Huawei and ZTE peddling low-cost Chinese 5G format in Japan and in the US via Softbank/Sprint, and Huawei/ZTE making inload in Japan and in the US is considered a national security threat. Unlike the US, Japan has no hard/soft ban on Chinese equipment and Softbank has popularized Chinese telco equipment in Japan, even if Docomo itself tried to stay away from Chinese equipment at a great cost disadvantage.
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