AT&T picks Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco as first 5G cities

2018 will be the year you can experience mobile 5G from AT&T.

AT&T plans to offer mobile 5G to customers in a dozen cities, including parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas, by the end of this year. The company will announce additional cities in the coming months.

This is standards-based, mobile 5G . AT&T is the only U.S. carrier that’s announced plans to deliver this ground-breaking technology to its customers in 2018.

“After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards, conducting multi-city trials, and literally transforming our network for the future, we’re planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G – and do it much sooner than most people thought possible,” said Igal Elbaz, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design, in a statement. “Our mobile 5G firsts will put our customers in the middle of it all.”

AT&T continues to build the foundation of 5G. The company initially launched 5G Evolution last spring and plans to offer this technology broadly by the end of the year. Additionally, last fall AT&T launched LTE-Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA) technologies in parts of Indianapolis and are now live in parts of Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

AT&T’s initial mobile 5G deployments this year will be based on 3GPP standards and operate over mmWave spectrum. The compnay will use mmWave to provide mobile 5G in some areas, and then will deploy the technology on additional spectrum bands.

The way AT&T is implementing 5G in the initial deployments will also seamlessly integrate with current LTE technologies using the non-standalone configuration outlined in 3GPP release 15. The equipment the company is deploying today on their LTE network will allow AT&T to easily migrate to 5G.

AT&T believes 5G and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) go hand in hand. A virtualized and software-defined network lets AT&T develop, deploy, and protect new network applications faster than with a hardware-based model.

The company plans to virtualize 75% of our network by 2020. Their goal in 2017 was 55%, and they hit that mark.

Ultimately, AT&T expects to reach theoretical peak speeds of multiple gigabits per second on devices through mobile 5G. While speed is important, the company also expects to see much lower latency rates. With higher speeds and lower latency rates, the mobile 5G network will eventually unlock a number of new, exciting experiences for AT&T customers.

For these experiences to become reality, mobile 5G powered by SDN and edge computing is required. AT&T is making the cloud smarter, faster and local.

5G Austin Lab

To help AT&T meet this aggressive timeline for mobile 5G deployment, the company is opening a new 5G lab in Austin, Texas.

The lab will be where AT&T engineers can build and test creative solutions and run “stress tests” – simulating real-world customer experiences – with mobile 5G network equipment and devices from multiple vendors before they are rolled out to customers. This lab is also equipped with an outdoor 5G testbed to trial a variety of 5G applications and real-world use cases.

One of the first in-house projects built at the lab is the Advanced 5G NR Testbed System (ANTS). ANTS is a first-of-its kind 5G testbed system and is proprietary to AT&T.
ANTS will let the company test unique and forward-looking features on a simulated 5G network for eventual standardization and use on our commercial network. By re-creating a physical 5G radio environment in their labs, AT&T has greater control over what is deployed to customers.

Source: AT&T Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats, Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco!


  1. Speed of light equals wavelength times frequency, so a mm wave (1×10-3 meter) is on the order of 300 GHz. I am guessing that frequency will have greater difficulty penetrating buildings and other obstacles than existing 3G and 4G communications. Performance with a clear line-of-sight is one thing. But it will be interesting to see how well 5G works in real life in a city environment..

    1. I wondered about this, too. The best service I’ve received via the major four US carriers is from AT&T, and I’ve always suspected that this is due to their 700~800MHz frequencies. The difference in “number of bars” of service is particularly the best in areas with uneven terrain, of which we have our fair share in the Atlanta metro area.

  2. AT&T and other companies, including Verizon, can only TEST a PROPOSED version of 5G due to the fact that the 5G specification isn’t finished! The 5G spec won’t be finished until late in 2018. Even then, don’t count on it actually being available across the USA until 2020 or 2021. Seriously.

    IOW: ALL the ongoing chatter Chatter CHATTER about 5G is mere Marketing Hype. Be prepared to be disappointed. I say this because it is nearly impossible at this time to obtain REAL 4G, called LTE Advanced, in the USA despite the fact that its spec was completed in 2013. We wait…

    You can keep up with the actual facts regarding 5G progress at these web pages:

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