After having conducted tests on base stations and antennas in the 28 GigaHertz band in a number of markets in the country, the second biggest wireless carrier in America is now ready to expand the trials to the 37 and 39 GigaHertz bands. Indeed, AT&T is looking to hold the expanded testing in cities such as Waco in Texas, Kalamazoo in Michigan, and South Bend in Indiana.
About four months ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had approved the mobile operator’s application to start testing in the 28 GigaHertz band until August of 2019. AT&T essentially still has more than 20 months before its experimental license expires, and it clearly wants to make full use of the remaining time to conduct expanded trials in additional bands. As indicated in its application to the FCC, the wireless service provider claims that the trials should allow it to gather insights and knowledge in the proper optimization of system parameters, especially in preparation for the debut of its 5G network offering. Moreover, the information gained from the testing, particularly in aspects such as coverage, capacity, latency, and other key indicators should help in the development of the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) standards.
With regards to the three targeted markets for testing the 37 and 39 GigaHertz bands, they happen to be the three additional cities that AT&T had announced back in August earlier this year to serve as venues for the carrier’s fixed wireless 5G trials. The testing was to be held before the end of the year. In the state capital of Texas, the number two mobile operator in the US had already reported achieving connection speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, as well as latency rates well below 0.01 seconds. In those trials, academic institutions, healthcare centers, churches, restaurants, and other small business establishments were invited to take part in the 5G tests. AT&T has also confirmed that it is teaming up with other big tech names like Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, and Intel in conducting the trials.
The general thinking is that 5G wireless offerings will not be available until 2020 or even 2019, but obviously, carriers in America will still be busying themselves trying to test and fine tune their respective 5G services. So far, initial trials have produced some positive results for the providers, but it should be noted that real world settings sometimes differ from tests. Nevertheless, with each trial performed, we should get closer and closer to the real deal.
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