AT&T Launches 5G Trial With DIRECTV NOW In Austin, TX

AT&T launched the second trial using millimeter wave (mmWave) technology to deliver an ultra-fast 5G network experience to more locations in Austin, Texas.

In 2016, AT&T completed the industry’s first fixed wireless 5G business customer trial in Austin.

AT&T’s second trial will deliver an ultra-fast internet connection to residential, small business and enterprise customers using Ericsson’s 5G RAN and the Intel® 5G Mobile Trial Platform. The trial participants can stream premium live TV via DIRECTV NOW and experience faster broadband services—all over a fixed wireless 5G signal. The trial benefits from the resources and capabilities of AT&T’s 5G testbeds in Austin.

AT&T expects that the trial will provide speeds up to 1 gigabit per second using mmWave spectrum. AT&T reached a key milestone earlier this year by delivering DIRECTV NOW using mmWave technology at their Middletown, New Jersey lab. It was the first time DIRECTV NOW had been delivered over a 5G connection.

While 5G standards are still being finalized, AT&T is laying the foundation for faster wireless speeds today in Austin with 5G Evolution. This is a major step their journey to deliver state-of-the-art 5G wireless speeds as early as late 2018.

“The technology behind 5G is important. But it’s also about advancing social trends like mobile video streaming,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design, AT&T. “In Austin, we’re testing DIRECTV NOW over ultra-fast internet speeds at a variety of locations. The network of the future will help redefine what connectivity means to both consumers and businesses. This trial helps show that the new reality is coming fast.”

AT&T expects 5G to take people and businesses places they’ve never been with all new experiences thanks to the advantages of enhanced mobile broadband, critical IoT solutions and low latency applications.

Lower latency will play a powerful role in the connected experience. It impacts things like the time between clicking a web link and seeing a webpage begin to load on your device. Through this trial, participants will be able to see the real-life, daily benefits that fixed wireless 5G offers them directly or to their customers.

AT&T expects that a local car wash or dentist office will be able to offer connectivity that allows customers to do things like immerse in augmented or virtual reality as they pass the time. A bustling neighborhood coffee shop can offer ultra-fast internet speeds to everyone working on a laptop or on a video call via their mobile device. A hometown retail shop can utilize the enhanced reliability to enable an all mobile checkout experience.

Data traffic on the AT&T mobile network has grown more than 250,000% since 2007. Video now makes up over half of their mobile data traffic. AT&T’s video traffic grew over 75% and smartphones drove almost 75% of their data traffic in 2016.

AT&T’s testing and trial efforts are ramping up as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless standards body looks to complete key components of the 5G standards needed to start chipset development in December.

As one of the top North American wireless carrier contributors into 3GPP’s work on 5G standards, AT&T plans on contributing key trial findings back into the standards process. By conducting the trial with a variety of audiences – residential, small business and enterprise customers – using DIRECTV NOW and other applications, AT&T expects to gain new insights into mmWave performance characteristics needed for industry standards development.

“This trial, part of our long-term collaboration with AT&T that builds on the success of our first fixed wireless 5G Austin trial, provides the business and consumer participants a chance to experience the type of services and market opportunities they can expect in their daily lives with enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-fast speeds and reliable network capabilities,” said Sandra Rivera, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Network Platforms Group and 5G executive sponsor. “Intel, AT&T and Ericsson’s work together, trialing early usages of 5G technologies and the experiences it will bring to businesses, demonstrates the importance of industry collaborations and need for seamless flow of data across the network, cloud and device to make 5G a reality.”

“Ericsson is working with AT&T and other leading operators and ecosystem players to drive the realization of 5G – both with today’s pre-standard field trials and through standardization activities with global standards bodies and industry groups,” said Joakim Sorelius, Head of 5G Radio, Business Area Networks at Ericsson. “This trial takes us a step closer to 5G commercialization, validating the technology and exploring the potential for outdoor-to-indoor mmWave coverage for residential and business customers.”

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About the Author

William B. West
William B. West
William B. West is editor-in-chief of CordCuttersTalk.com, Rokuki.com, and StreamingThisMonth.com. All three sites cover the latest cord cutters news, information, and updates.

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