AT&T expects to be the first U.S. company to introduce mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by late 2018. The promise of mobile 5G is seemingly endless and we’re moving fast to make that promise a reality. To reach this ambitious milestone, we’ve taken a different approach to transforming our network. AT&T 5G services will be based on industry standards for 5G. To make this happen, we were one of the key drivers for standards acceleration last year.
Because of that acceleration, 3GPP, the international wireless standards body, completed key elements of 5G new radio (NR) standards last month. With these specifications now available, hardware, chipset and device manufacturers can start development. This allows us to provide mobile 5G services sooner. We’re confident this latest standards milestone will allow us to bring 5G to market faster without compromising its long-term vision.
“5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations. “We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more.” In addition to plans for offering mobile 5G to consumers this year, we expect to trial 5G technology with businesses of all sizes across industries to help them to transform business operations and create more engaging experiences for their customers.
Taking 5G to the edge
As standards continue to develop, 5G will advance and won’t just be about faster speeds on your phone. It will also mean much lower latency, which will be enhanced by a new range of applications utilizing edge computing. A quick primer: latency refers to how long it takes for the network to recognize you’ve requested a chunk of data and to start sending you that data. For example, it’s the brief delay between the moment you press play on a streaming video app and the moment the video shows up on your screen.
We expect future 5G technologies will eventually allow future driverless vehicles to make real-time decisions based on information that goes beyond the individual sensors onboard the vehicle itself. Vehicles will be able to “see” around corners, through other vehicles, and at longer distances. This will enable vehicles to quickly make sense of their environment and help guide safe operations on the road.
That’s what we mean about 5G unlocking a new level of experiences beyond just speed. As great as 5G will be, we know one size doesn’t fit all. In fact, 5G is just one of the technologies we’re deploying to give our customers network connections that are fast and responsive like never before. Wired or wireless, mobile or fixed, we’ve got it all covered. Other areas we’re working on include:
In 2017, we turbo-charged our LTE network and deployed advanced features in all of our markets, which greatly enhanced coverage and capacity. We were the first to launch LTE-LAA and expect to launch the technology in at least 2 dozen additional metros this year.
AT&T 5G Evolution
We’ve been hard at work this past year laying the foundation for mobile 5G with the launch of 5G Evolution in 23 major metros; Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; Chicago; Fresno; Greenville, South Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Louisville; Memphis; Nashville; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Tulsa, Oklahoma and Sacramento, California offering immersive entertainment experiences like augmented and virtual reality while on the go.
While we’re rolling out mobile 5G in 2018, we also plan to continue to enhance our network with 5G Evolution technology in hundreds of additional metro areas. We will give you more options to access our latest wireless network offers by making additional 5G Evolution capable devices available throughout the year.
We also deployed our nationwide low-power wide-area LTE-M network in the U.S. in 2017. Plus, Mexico’s first LTE-M network is now network ready, creating the first North American LTE-M footprint. LTE-M supports large-scale Internet of Things solutions, like smart city services, smart metering, asset tracking, supply chain management, security and alarm monitoring, and personal wearables. It offers extended battery life, lower-cost modules, improved coverage underground and deep inside buildings and carrier-grade security. With these advantages, LTE-M is already spurring innovation such as the AT&T LTE-M Button, and enabling devices to be connected that were not possible before.
Fixed Wireless Internet
In 2017, we brought high-speed internet access to over 440,000 locations across 18 states in mostly rural areas through technologies like Fixed Wireless Internet, as part of the FCC Connect America Fund. In 2018, we plan to reach over 660,000 total locations and 1.1 million locations by the end of 2020 in those 18 states.
As a leader in the development and implementation of Fixed Wireless Internet, we’re laying the foundation for the future of how we’ll bring consumer and business customers faster high-quality internet over a combination of wireless and wired connections, particularly in previously hard to reach locations.
Fixed 5G and AirGig
Last year, we also launched pre-standards 5G fixed wireless trials in Austin, Texas; Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana with residential, small business, and education customers. We also launched 2 Project AirGig trials, our innovative technology offering transport for ultra-fast low latency internet over power lines. One was in Georgia and the other international.
Fiber for Consumers and Businesses
In 2017, we reached more than 7 million locations across 67 metros nationwide where we market our ultra-fast low-latency internet service powered by AT&T Fiber. In 2018, we plan to add 3 million more locations on our path to reach at least 12.5 million locations across at least 82 metro areas by mid-2019. New metros areas where we plan to bring our 100% fiber network include Amarillo, Texas; Beaumont, Texas; Evansville, Indiana; Gainesville, Florida; Panama City, Florida; Springfield, Missouri and Waco, Texas.1 On our fastest internet service, AT&T Internet 1000, you can download 25 songs in 1 second, a TV show in 4 seconds or your favorite HD movie in less than 34 seconds.2
Additionally, we’re the largest U.S.-based provider of fiber for business services with more than 8 million business customer locations either on or within 1,000 feet of our fiber. An ultra-fast internet connection powered by AT&T Fiber lets you easily telecommute, videoconference, upload and download large files and connect faster to the cloud.
In 2017, we began offering internet speeds up to 500 megabits per second with G.fast for multifamily properties across 8 metro areas outside of our 21-state traditional service area. We’ve also announced plans to give consumers a new choice for internet in apartment communities in an additional 14 metro areas areas.3 In 2018, we plan to launch G.fast to apartment communities within our 21-state footprint.
G.fast allows us to provide residents in existing multifamily properties an ultra-high speed internet connection without placing new home run inside wire, making it a breeze to upgrade an apartment building to stream live video on DIRECTV NOW and more.
1 Based on the number of Fiber-to-the-Home households using publicly available data for the top fiber providers in the AT&T footprint.
2 Speed/Time examples are estimates. Estimate for HD movie is based on a 90-minute HD movie.