AT&T announced the launch of what it calls “5G Evolution” — their marketing term for LTE-Advanced capabilities — in parts of Indianapolis. The capabilities include 256-QAM, 4 x 4 MIMO and three-way carrier aggregation (CA). Presently, only customers with the Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ phones can access the enhanced service, which AT&T says can double download data rates over LTE.
During the past year, AT&T has installed a distributed antenna system (DAS) and added network capacity to nine existing systems in Indianapolis, to better serve large venues such as airports, stadiums and malls. An element of the capacity expansion is small cells, which use a centralized RAN (C-RAN) architecture, where the baseband for each small cell is centralized in a single location and not co-located with the radio.
In addition to parts of Indianapolis, AT&T’s 5G Evolution service is available in areas of Austin, Texas. AT&T plans to extend LTE-Advanced capabilities to more than 20 metro areas by the end of the year, including parts of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville and San Francisco.
The company said it will also deploy license assisted access (LAA) and four-way CA in certain metro areas by the end of the year, a further step in the 5G Evolution strategy. AT&T tested LTE-LAA technology in San Francisco and achieved peak download speeds of more than 750 Mbps. Field trials will continue in San Francisco and expand to Indianapolis locations in the coming weeks.