AT&T is offering more information on its plans to trial its 5G network service in 2017. The wireless carrier has already launched business customer trials for 5G speeds in Austin, Texas, and plans to expand its efforts in the next year.
AT&T says it will begin a new trial in the first half 0f 2017 for a number of residential customers in Austin, where they will be able to access the recently launched streaming TV service DirecTV Now via a fixed 5G wireless connection. The company says that this test will see how its wireless mmWave technology can handle video traffic. More mobile and fixed wireless 5G trials are expected to begin sometime in the second half of 2017, using the New Radio specification that’s being developed by the 3GPP standards group. However, it’s going to be several years before 5G speeds are available on a wide basis.
AT&T added that it will also continue to update its current 4G LTE-Advanced network, and says that some of its cell sites will be able to reach theoretical download speeds of up to 1 Gbps sometime this year. The company’s fiber network is also getting some improvements, and it currently supports speeds of up to 1Gbps at 4 million locations across 46 US metro areas. The plan is to increase those numbers to 12.5 million locations across 67 metro areas by mid-2019.