AT&T: We're Not Only Focused on mmWave for 5G

Dan Jones
News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

NEW YORK -- 5G Transport & Networking Strategies -- AT&T wants you to know that it will not be solely dependent on millimeter wave as the spectrum for its forthcoming mobile 5G service in the US.

"That's absolutely not true," Gordon Mansfield, VP of RAN and device design at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), told the crowd at Light Reading's event Tuesday. (See 5G Transport Gets a Reboot in NY.)

AT&T's Gordon Mansfield at the Light Reading event
AT&T's Gordon Mansfield at the Light Reading event

AT&T has previously said that it will use millimeter wave spectrum for its rollout. The operator, however is also rolling out 5G-ready equipment with its FirstNet deployment on 700MHz low-band, as well as 2.3GHz WCS spectrum in the mid-band. (See For AT&T, 5G Is a City Kitty, Not a Residential Fat Pipe .)

Mansfield was pointing out that AT&T won't be solely reliant on 28GHz mmWave as it moves toward 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio-based service. (See AT&T Adds New 5G Cities, Names Infrastructure Vendors.)

He also appeared to criticize the 5G-based fixed wireless access service from chief rival Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). "They have to go ahead and rip out the equipment at the customer homes when they want to update," Mansfield said, not naming Verizon's 5G Home Service, a fixed wireless offering based on the operator's 5GTF specification, which launched on October 1. (See Verizon's Home-Grown 5G Arrives Today.)

Speeding up the deployment of mmWave for the mobile rather than fixed 5G will require more infrastructure integration, as Verizon seemed to acknowledge at the event. (See Verizon Working to Integrate mmWave With Baseband Unit Infrastructure for 5G.)

AT&T is hopeful that its millimeter wave "Project AirGig" will be able to provide gigabit-speed backhaul in the future, especially in rural areas. The AirGig technology wirelessly rides alongside medium-voltage power lines and uses newly designed "low-cost" plastic antennas for connectivity. (See Project AirGig Goes Down to Georgia .)

At the moment, "it's a research project," Mansfield noted.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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