AT&T Expects to Launch a True 5G Network This Year

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AT&T has somewhat thrown down the gauntlet to its competitors when it comes to Fifth Generation (5G) mobile networks.  The carrier announced that they plan to have true 5G coverage in a dozen cities by late 2018 and aim to be the first to offer the next generation, high speed mobile data solution.

This will be different than the pseudo 5G that both AT&T and Verizon are offering which, more-or-less, is beefed up 4G.  Indeed, AT&T plans to continue development on what they market as their “5G Evolution” product, which is currently available in 23 cities.

The carrier was clear in pointing out that they can accelerate their plans thanks to the 5G NR (New Radio) standard that was defined last month by the 3GPP.  That standard means that manufactures can start working on modems and chips sets and carriers will know what to expect and can build their networks.

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First 5G NR (New Radio) Specs Ratified

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At their working meeting in Lisbon, Portugal today, the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partner Project) has ratified the standard for the first 5G New Radio.  Setting the specifications of this first 5G NR is critical as it becomes the standard by which carriers and manufactures use to build or utilize 5G networks respectively.  The news isn’t surprising as they have been working tirelessly to come up with a standard early so the transition from 4G to 5G is as smooth as possible.

When 5G begins rolling out, it will leverage the backbone of today’s LTE networks and will focus primarily on data.  It will also utilize sub-6GHz that many carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile have been purchasing rabidly.  Because the focus of this first NSA 5G (Non-Stand Alone), specifications for calls are not outlined in the initial specification.

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