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AT&T to start testing a 5G network, up to 100 times faster than current LTE speeds

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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AT&T to start testing a 5G network, up to 100 times faster than current LTE speeds
Not to be outdone by Verizon, AT&T just announced that it will also start preparing its network for the next, 5G wireless data standard, whenever its final characteristics are ironed out. For the moment, AT&T says it will strive to provide fiber-like data download speeds, which most likely means up to 1 Gbps, just as with Verizon's current undertaking. 

America's second-biggest carrier will start testing a virtual 5G network in its Austin, Texas labs by the summer, cooperating with Ericsson and Intel for the equipment. It will gradually roll out the speedy wireless broadband as a point-to-point delivery for homes and businesses afterwards, using a high-frequency millimeter band radio spectrum. Verizon already has such a network operational at its Basking Ridge, NJ headquarters, and AT&T won't be far behind, it seems.

New experiences like virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more are about to test networks like never before. 5G will help make them a reality.

Thus, it may not be by accident that Qualcomm yesterday unveiled the world's first commercially available Gigabit class data modem chip - the X16 LTE radio - and said it will enter phones in H2 2016. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) - the body that is responsible for creating the standard - has defined 5G network speeds as being 10 Gbps, with peak speeds of up to 20 Gbps, but its characteristics won't be finalized before 2020, and we need more speed now. If the 4G history is any indication, the carriers may just start labeling their upcoming 1 Gbps network speeds as 5G, instead of LTE Advanced Plus, Pro, or something of the sorts anyway. AT&T says that the new network will be 10-100 times faster than current LTE speeds, and we are inclined to believe it, as the average 4G LTE speed for the US is about 9 Mbps and change at the moment.

What will the new 1 Gbps networks of Verizon and AT&T serve for? Well, video, of course, those 4K Netflix sessions won't stream themselves. Both AT&T, and Verizon before it, mention in their press releases about the "5G" rollout that it is mainly done because of rising demand for video streaming, which now occupies the vast majority of total data consumption on their networks. 

Not only that, but according to John Donovan, chief strategy officer of AT&T: "New experiences like virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more are about to test networks like never before. 5G will help make them a reality." Hear, hear. For a quick primer on the other goodies that 5G will bring further down the road, besides the speed increase, check out this infographic below.

AT&T to start testing a 5G network, up to 100 times faster than current LTE speeds

source: FierceWireless & EC

6 Comments
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posted on 12 Feb 2016, 04:22

1. mercorp (Posts: 1027; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)


There goes the unlimited data plans... Such plans are useless in mobile phones unless we get at least 12gb free data plans at reasonable prices!

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 06:49 1

2. xondk (Posts: 1387; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


Yeah, with the data caps that exist around the world, on mobile, which is especially bad some places, going this much faster is going to present a problem if they keep those caps in place, they should maybe instead switch to a system based around bandwidth throughput like normal internet connections, pay x get xx up and xx down unlimited data like most isps, and only really have a cap that points out 'excessive' use.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 07:54

3. ibend (Posts: 4573; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


whats the point of 10Gbps if one can only use 2 or 4GB each month? :-/
please make something like 10Gbps fiber connection for $100/month

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 08:05

4. dcgore (Posts: 227; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)


Everything will be relative. Instead of talking 10-15GB per month will be taking 100-150GB per month, etc.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 09:22 1

5. XDAdam (Posts: 152; Member since: 03 Feb 2016)


Unless you will be streaming 4K videos, you probably wont jump up a huge amount in data usage. People complained before when LTE was being tested that everyone's data caps would be reached by the second day of the billing cycle... but that has not really happened. Sure we use a little more data than when all we had was 3G, but I seriously doubt that most of us will be using 100-150GB per month.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 17:19

6. Blazers (Posts: 427; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


Lucky Austin. First Google Fiber, and now 5G testing. And the music scene is pretty good too.

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