The company also plans to expand its advanced LTE and Fiber networks to several metro areas throughout the year.
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- AT&T hopes to have 5G in at least 12 markets by the end of 2018.
- Other tech giants are planning their own large-scale tests and expedited product creations, with several hoping for a commercial deployment in 2019.
The quick turnaround may be a result of governing body 3GPP approving the specs six months earlier than expected, allowing top telecom providers to move forward with larger trials and testing of the technology.
Consumers in the 12 markets will have access to 5G as AT&T tests the technology, the company said. AT&T launched four 5G fixed wireless trials in 2017 in Waco, TX, Austin, TX, South Bend, IN, and Kalamazoo, MI. The company hasn't announced which markets will receive 5G.
SEE: Network security policy (Tech Pro Research)
After the spec approval, several companies said they're aiming for commercial 5G deployment in 2019. Verizon said in November it plans to roll out 5G fixed wireless in five US cities during 2018, starting in Sacramento, CA.
5G is estimated to cover 20% of the world's population by 2023, according to a November Ericsson report. The US, China, Japan, and South Korea are expected to be the first countries to access 5G.
The faster speeds enabled by 5G will benefit several emerging technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices, virtual and augmented reality, and autonomous driving. The faster speeds can also improve mobile work from smartphones for business professionals.
"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," president of AT&T Technology and Operations Melissa Arnoldi said in the release.
AT&T also said it would be expanding its advanced LTE service to around 24 metro areas in 2018, and bringing AT&T Fiber to 3 million new spots, totaling 12.5 locations in 82 metro areas by mid-2019, according to our sister site ZDNet.
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