AT&T jumps into the fast lane with ultra-speedy 5G field trial
5G is coming. Eventually.
The fifth generation of wireless technology heralds a significant speed boost for Internet connections. On a 5G network, you could download the latest “Star Wars” film in seconds, not the minutes needed on today’s networks. Its expected ubiquity will also help connect millions of devices, from lightbulbs to farm gear, allowing them to talk to one another and to you.
Now AT&T has publicly come out with its road map for 5G, which will deliver 10 to 100 times the speed of today’s 4G wireless connections. This follows Verizon’s vow to start field tests this year.
AT&T, the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, said late Thursday that it plans to start development work on 5G technology with partners Ericsson and Intel in the second quarter. Field trials are expected to start in Austin, Texas, by year’s end.
The companies’ plans mark the next step on the long journey to 5G. Although AT&T and Verizon are moving on tests now, the industry doesn’t expect the technology to be widely available until 2020. With early work going into 5G now, though, the hype is building.
The rollout of 5G will enable all kinds of new opportunities. A more responsive network could let a doctor remotely perform delicate surgery with robotic hands, according to carriers and equipment makers. The increased capacity would also let you stream virtual-reality videos or games directly to your VR headset or send multiple streams of super-high-definition video to all the big-screen televisions in your house.