The trio are preparing to test high-band frequencies for next-generation 5G technology, which should deliver "multi-gigabit Internet service" over the air. For the average Jane or Joe Blow on the street, this would mean an HD film downloaded wirelessly to their phone. Mobile 5G services are expected to arrive around 2020. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), however, are trying to push out fixed 5G wireless before that, with friendly trials expected this year. (See 5G in US: Will Spectrum Be the Speed Bump?)
For the tests, AT&T will be using 28GHz spectrum, one of the bands that will be opened up by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for 5G applications. Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) will supply the basestations, Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) the test devices.
5G NR is a specification being put together by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) . The initial specification, due later in 2017, is the NSA-NR (Non-Standalone-New Radio) spec, which uses LTE for the call and session set-up. (See 3GPP Plans Early Mobile 5G Spec for December 2017.)
This is important for AT&T as it is working on deploying 5G as early as possible. Verizon has been working on its own 5G specification for its fixed deployment.
All of this work, from the multiple operators and vendors, is expected to become part of the 5G NR over time.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading