AT&T to launch 5G across 19 cities

AT&T is working with Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung to launch 5G in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Antonio, New Orleans, Houston, Jacksonville, Louisville, Dallas, Atlanta, Waco, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Oklahoma City.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

AT&T has announced that it will be bringing 5G to five more cities by the end of 2018, with mobile services to launch in Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio, Jacksonville, and Louisville.

The carrier also announced that it is planning to launch mobile 5G services in parts of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose in early 2019.

The 12 new cities slated to receive 5G from AT&T join the previously announced Dallas, Atlanta, Waco, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Oklahoma City.

Across its 19 5G deployments, AT&T said it has selected Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung as its vendors.

"Working with these three suppliers, we've already started deploying 3GPP Release 15 compliant equipment in a handful of our early 5G cities," AT&T said.

The carrier will also be kitting out its Foundry innovation centres in Atlanta, Plano, and Palo Alto with 5G connectivity to focus on developing technologies and use cases across 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities, and VR gaming.

"Future smart factories and retailers, self-driving cars, untethered virtual and augmented realities, and other yet to be discovered experiences will grow up on tomorrow's 5G networks," AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch said on Monday.

AT&T additionally announced details of its ongoing 5G trials in Waco, saying it achieved a global first 5G data transfer to a Qualcomm smartphone form-factor test device with a Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem, using millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum and Ericsson 5G NR radios.

AT&T is utilising its mmWave spectrum for its 5G networks, and is focused on deploying in high-density areas with greater network demand. In lower-density areas, the carrier said it will deploy 5G across mid- and low-band spectrum.

According to AT&T, its 4G-advanced "5G Evolution" networks are now live in over 200 locations, and will reach more than 400 by the end of 2018.

In July, the carrier had also said its LTE Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA) technology had been launched in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Boston, Chicago, McAllen, Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, San Jose, Tampa, Little Rock, and Tuscaloosa.

AT&T had announced in November last year that it would be deploying commercial LTE-LAA technology to push its network to peak theoretical speeds of up to 1Gbps, along with 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO), 3x carrier aggregation, and 256 quadrature amplitude moderation (QAM) technologies.

AT&T has been focused on its 5G rollout, trialling the technology throughout 2017 and testing fixed-wireless 5G in South Bend, Indiana, earlier this year across mmWave spectrum.

Speaking to ZDNet in February, AT&T SVP of Wireless Network Architecture and Design Igal Elbaz said the carrier is ahead of the curve when it comes to 5G thanks to its focus on edge computing and network virtualisation.

The carrier is the global frontrunner in "standards-based mobile 5G", Elbaz said, after it announced in January that it will be providing non-standalone (NSA) 5G services in around 12 markets by late 2018.

"We are very uniquely positioned because of our experience in SDN, and because of what we are doing in 5G, and because of what we are doing in edge," he told ZDNet.

"And you're seeing in all three dimensions, we're very active in each one of them; we believe that we have a very unique not just opportunity but an advantage in terms of how we think about the network and how we should deploy it."

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