AT&T to begin 5G trial in Austin, TX for DirecTV Now customers

The 5G test will begin in the first half of 2017, AT&T said. 5G has achieved 14Gbps speeds in lab testing, with a focus on delivering 4K video over mobile networks.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
Photo by CNET/Marguerite Reardon

AT&T on Tuesday said it will begin testing its 5G network with DirecTV Now customers in Austin, TX sometime during the first half of 2017.

5G's premise is to stream video and other data faster than ever before. AT&T reached speeds of 14Gbps during lab testing, as 4k video, Internet of Things, and mobile video become the focus of customers' data consumption.

DirecTV Now customers in Austin will be able to stream the video service over a 5G connection during the trial. AT&T promises other video services in the trial, but didn't detail specifics.

"Our 5G Evolution plans will pave the way to the next-generation of higher speeds for customers. We're not waiting until the final standards are set to lay the foundation for our evolution to 5G. We're executing now," John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, technology and operations at AT&T, said.

Donovan added, "Data on our mobile network has increased about 250,000 percent since 2007, and the majority of that traffic is video."

AT&T announced its first business trial for 5G with Intel and Ericsson using mmWave technology in the fall of 2016. The mobile carrier will also team with Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson for 5G trials for mobile as well as fixed wireless trials.

AT&T also said Tuesday it's marketing 1Gbps connections on its fiber network to four million locations across 46 metros nationwide.

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