5G and Beyond

AT&T Runs More Low-Band Tests in the US

AT&T is testing 5G equipment in the 4400MHz to 5000MHz band in Austin, Texas, thanks to an experimental license from the FCC.

The 4400MHz to 5000MHz band is known as the n79 band in the 5G New Radio (NR) specification. It is also part of the C-Band in the US.

The operator is running mobile tests between the beginning of June and the beginning of September this year. AT&T says that tests will operate "within 20 meters radius of base."

"AT&T seeks to further validate system design and operation in the sub-6GHz band for certain applications and use cases such as IAB (Integrated Access and Backhaul), LNC (LTE-NR Coexistence), V2X (Vehicle to vehicle/others), URLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication), mMTC (massive Machine Type Communications), and eMBB (enhanced Mobile BroadBand)," says the operator in its application for the license.

"We wouldn't be able to share info beyond that in the license app," an AT&T spokeswoman told Light Reading.

Why this matters
AT&T is slated to start its rollout of 5G on low-band spectrum next year, probably on the 700MHz band. It is currently running some of its 5G networks in 21 cities on its 39GHz millimeter wave system for businesses and selected developers. Compared with low-band, these millimeter wave networks offer blazing speeds (1 Gbit/s), but lower coverage ranges (1,000 to 2,000 feet).

AT&T is supposed to go nationwide on low-band spectrum in the first half of 2020. The operator is expected to use 700MHz spectrum, alongside its FirstNet 4G 700MHz deployment, but could rely on other frequencies as well. AT&T has also been involved in discussions about using the C-Band, largely in the 3.7GHz to 4.2GHz ranges, for 5G.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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