Networking

5G takes center stage at MWC 2018 as telcos rush to deploy network trials

Here are some of the 5G network trials and technologies that were announced at Mobile World Congress.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • 5G network technologies were a major theme at the 2018 Mobile World Congress, with manufacturers and service providers all showing off their advancements.
  • Top tech companies like Samsung, Telstra, and AT&T all have major 5G rollouts planned for 2018.

One of the standout themes at the 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona was the emergence of 5G mobile networks. The fifth generation of network technology promises faster speeds and lower latency, and many major tech companies were on hand to show off their work in the space.

At MWC, big names in tech spoke on the future of 5G, how it will impact revenue, and what industries will benefit from it. (Hint: Basically all industries will.)

However, it wasn't all talk. Firms unveiled plans for hardware, software, and trials that would leverage the best of what 5G had to offer. Here are some of the biggest trials and network announcements unveiled at MWC.

SEE: Network security policy (Tech Pro Research)

T-Mobile

T-Mobile announced that it would begin building out 5G networks in 30 cities this year. According to our sister site ZDNet, T-Mobile is planning to roll out the service in the US cities of Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, and Dallas by 2019. The firm is planning to use both 600MHz and millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum, along with some small cells.

The firm's CEO John Legere called competing companies "dumb and dumber," and the firm mentioned elsewhere that it was "focused on delivering a truly transformative 5G experience."

AT&T

Earlier in 2018, AT&T announced that it would be bringing 5G to 12 markets by the end of 2018. At MWC, however, the company touted its progress, with AT&T senior vice president of Wireless Network Architecture and Design Igal Elbaz telling our sister site ZDNet about how it had expedited its trials and used its Austin lab as a "testbed" for 5G.

"For 2018, we obviously needed the standards that just completed in December ... and now it's mainly about putting together the ecosystem or the vendors that we're working with to be able to have the device, the equipment," Elbaz told ZDNet.

Sprint

For its MWC play, Sprint chose to announce the first six cities where it would be bringing the technology: Los Angeles, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston. According to ZDNet, the firm said these cities would experience "5G-like capabilities" by April.

Sprint will begin with Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) deployments in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas before moving onto the other cities. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said at MWC the announcement was "a huge step toward Sprint being first to offer a 5G mobile network."

Telstra

Australian telco Telstra also took advantage of the MWC hype to showcase its 5G plans. According to ZDNet, the firm will deploy more than 1,000 small cells to boost capacity, while also working on trials that integrate 4G and 5G technologies in partnership with other tech leaders.

"5G will be a critical building block in economic competitiveness for the nation, so we are planning our network rollout to give as many customers as possible access to 5G technology as soon as possible," Telstra COO Robyn Denholm said at MWC.

Verizon

Also at MWC, Verizon announced that it would be partnering with Samsung for its 4G LTE Open RAN initiative. This project will allow the companies to "increase network efficiencies, advance inter-carrier interoperability, and prepare a path for virtualized RAN and 5G commercialization," according to a Samsung press release.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/chombosan

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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