Move over, 4G. Fifth generation wireless is on the way.
“5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment,” AT&T Technology and Operations President Melissa Arnoldi said in a statement. “We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. 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.”
This isn’t a marketing stunt like the one AT&T pulled last year with its ‘5G Evolution’ nomenclature; the company now intends to launch true mobile 5G, according to PCMag’s Lead Mobile Analyst Sascha Segan.
The only problem with this plan: Nobody has built a mobile 5G device just yet, Segan said. On a positive note, though, the international wireless standards body 3GPP just locked down the first official 5G new radio (NR) standards at the end of 2017, meaning hardware, chipset, and device manufacturers have a standard to work with.
“Qualcomm and Intel are both targeting to sample their mobile 5G chips in 2018 for 2019 device launches, so AT&T could be building a network in advance of devices, which isn’t actually all that bad an idea,” Segan said.
AT&T 5G will deliver faster speeds on your phone and “much lower latency,” a term that refers to the length of time it takes a network to recognize you’ve requested data and to start sending it. This reduction in latency will allow for “a new level of experiences beyond just speed,” AT&T wrote.
“We expect future 5G technologies will eventually allow future driverless vehicles to make real-time decisions based on information that goes beyond the individual sensors onboard the Vehicle itself,” the company wrote. “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.”
Meanwhile, both AT&T and Verizon have said that they intend to offer fixed 5G as a home broadband replacement this year. Verizon in November announced plans to launch the super-fast home Internet service in ‘three to five’ markets in 2018, starting with Sacramento, California.