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America’s second-largest wireless provider, AT&T, is just weeks away from launching its nationwide mobile 5G network, the company’s top wireless executive said in statement according to FierceWireless.
“AT&T is on track to be the first wireless carrier to introduce mobile 5G services in the United States in the next few weeks,” said Chief Executive of the telecom-giant’s wireless division, John Donovan, during its latest quarterly earnings call. “This will be standards-based 5G,” he added.
Donovan cited AT&T’s previously announced 5G launch plans, which included testing in up to a dozen U.S. cities by the end of 2018, when mentioning the carrier’s now expedited efforts to get 5G up and running in as many markets, as quickly as possible.
5G, But Not Quite
AT&T’s initial 5G service will reportedly leverage its expansive fiber optic network, sitting alongside the company’s existing LTE network, which itself is currently undergoing a reorganization and massive update to “5G Evolution,” Donovan said, adding that the upgrades to LTE will be in place in 400 markets by the end of this year with a nationwide roll out expected by mid-2019.
Donovan added that pending LTE network upgrades will support peak speeds of up to 400 Mbps, in part thanks to new LTE LAA technology, which will be coming to “parts” of “two dozen cities” by the end of 2018.
AT&T noted in a previous announcement that its initial 5G services will work on the all-new 28 GHz spectrum, though the carrier says it’s actively working to obtain and integrate a variety of other 5G bands.
When and Where to Get AT&T’s 5G Wireless?
Interestingly, Donovan noted that AT&T’s wireless 5G service will be accessible only via a small “puck” device, at least initially.
And while the carrier hasn’t announced that device yet, just considering the bounds of technology, we can presume it’ll be similar to the current slate of portable 4G-capable LTE modems — a battery-powered gadget about the size of a small phone or pager which would allow users to connect their laptops, tablets, phones and other 5G-ready devices up to AT&T’s network over Wi-Fi.
Ultimately, while noting that his company’s renewed efforts was inspired by a “drive toward nationwide coverage of our 5G network,” Donovan did not officially say when or where AT&T would offer its nationwide 5G services. But we expect that information to come, sooner than later..