AT&T to launch first 5G mobile network this year

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AT&T has revealed plans to roll out next generation 5G mobile internet in a dozen U.S. cities by the end of the year.

If it hits the deadline, it would make the firm, which is America’s second-largest wireless carrier, the first U.S. company to introduce the technology.

New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and up to maybe 100 times faster than today’s 4G networks, depending on the type of systems used.

However, AT&T refused to say where mobile 5G will be offered, what phone or phones the service will work on or the precise speeds consumers can expect.

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New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and up to maybe 100 times faster than today’s 4G networks, depending on the type of systems used. 

AT&T’s announcement comes after international 5G standards were agreed in December by 3GPP, the body that develops and governs cellular standards.

‘We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses,’ Melissa Arnoldi, president of AT&T technology and operations, said.

‘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.’

AT&T also plans on trialing 5G technology with businesses.

‘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,’ it said. 

But it is also seen as a technology that can underpin driverless cars, allowing vehicles to send large amounts of data from their sensors back and forth. 

HOW 5G WILL MAKE SELF DRIVING CARS A REALITY

As standards continue to develop, 5G will advance and won’t just be about faster speeds on your phone, AT&T claims.

It will also mean much lower latency, which  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.

This will 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.

 

 

They will have the potential to connect at least 100 billion devices with download speeds that can reach 10 gigabits per second.

Most industry experts expected the first commercial deployments of 5G in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.  

5G signals operate on high levels of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Wavelengths in this band can be as small as millimetre, and it is also known as millimetre wave or mmW.

HOW DO 5G NETWORKS WORK?

5G signals operate on high levels of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Wavelengths in this band can be as small as millimetre, and it is also known as millimetre wave or mmW.

By comparison, current networks range between 700 MHz to 3,500 MHz, while the maximum theoretical speeds for 4G is 42Mbps and latency is between 40 and 60 milliseconds. 

The project would use micro antennae, which could overcome one of the key hurdles to the technology.  Experts from British universities say UK government plans to roll out 5G will require at least 400,000 new masts up to 80ft (24 metres) tall (stock image)

One 5G project uses micro antennae, which could overcome one of the key hurdles to the technology.  Experts from British universities say UK government plans to roll out 5G will require at least 400,000 new masts up to 80ft (24 metres) tall (stock image)

Such high-frequency wavebands have previously deemed unsuitable for mobile networks. 

They have a limited distance, are easily blocked by buildings and walls, and require specific transceivers capable of providing 5G to a wide area, via a phone mast.

Phones can’t currently receive signals and wavelengths on such a high frequency, so new technology will need to be added to these devices.

Conventional 5G networks also rely on a large number of new phone masts being installed for the higher, shorter, signals to travel over long distances. 

By comparison, current networks range between 700 MHz to 3,500 MHz, while the maximum theoretical speeds for 4G is 42Mbps and latency is between 40 and 60 milliseconds. 

Such high-frequency wavebands have previously deemed unsuitable for mobile networks. 

They have a limited distance, are easily blocked by buildings and walls, and require specific transceivers capable of providing 5G to a wide area, via a phone mast.

Phones can’t currently receive signals and wavelengths on such a high frequency, so new technology will need to be added to these devices.

Conventional 5G networks also rely on a large number of new phone masts being installed for the higher, shorter, signals to travel over long distances. 

WHAT WILL 5G LET YOU DO? 

Advances in mobile data networks in the next decade could bring a number of benefits, according to the White House.

Mobile phones and tablets could download full length HD movies in less than 5 seconds, 100 times faster than 4G (six minutes) and 25,000 times faster than 3G (26 hours).

Emergency response crews and hospital based doctors could get live, real-time video and sensor data from police vehicles, ambulances, and drones, along with patient vitals and medical records—all before the patient arrives at the hospital door.

Semi- or fully-autonomous vehicles could communicate with the outside world and with each other to improve travel efficiency and safety.

Factories could be equipped with always-connected smart manufacturing equipment that self-diagnose and repair themselves before they break.

Gigabit-speed wireless broadband could become available in businesses, public transportation stations, stadiums, campuses, schools, malls, parks, and other public spaces.

Virtual reality training environments and simulators could allow entry-level workers to develop and demonstrate skills in high-demand fields like solar energy installation—anytime, from anywhere. 





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