AT&T is expanding its trial of 5G connectivity to more US cities. Residential customers in Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and South Bend, Indiana will have 5G service by the end of the year.
AT&T’s expansion comes on the heels of another trial announced in June for residential customers in Austin, Texas.
5G network testing has picked up steam in recent months as providers learn more about the capabilities of millimeter wave (mmWave) performance and propagation. Millimeter wave technology has come down in cost, and the economics along with new 5G rules adopted by the FCC last year are boosting 5G development.
AT&T has said it will be contributing findings from its 5G trials to an industry standardization effort through its membership in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
“In Austin, we see all types of weather and substantial foliage,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design, AT&T. “Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G. And in doing so, we’re learning how to better design our network for the future.”
For the new trial cities, AT&T plans to increase its subscriber numbers and physical footprint. The company will be testing fixed and mobile wireless in the mmWave spectrum. AT&T expects that with these trials, they can offer standards based deployment as early as late 2018.
Trial participants in the new markets may include universities, hospitals, churches, restaurants, and other small businesses. Participants will be able to stream premium live TV via DIRECTV NOW and experience faster broadband services.