A full rollout of 5G may be a few years away, but that isn’t stopping AT&T Inc. (T) from launching a 5G trial in the business market, the first of its kind, it announced Monday in a blog post.
Teaming up with semiconductor maker Intel Corp. (INTC), AT&T’s said it is using millimeter wave (mmWave) technology to power a 5G network in one of Intel’s offices in Austin. AT&T worked with Ericsson to conduct a public 5G demo that featured streaming 4K HD video, real-time camera feeds and reaching speeds of close to 14 gigabits per second and now it’s taking its work with Ericsson to Intel to see what 5G can give a real-world business customer, it said.
5G Trial Seen as a Big Step By AT&T
“This trial is a significant step forward. We’re leaving the lab and heading into the field with a real-world business customer,” said Rick Hubbard, AT&T senior vice president for networking product management. “We expect mmWave technology to be an important part of 5G. The trial will help accelerate our 5G work by shedding new light on how the technology acts in a business environment.”
AT&T said with the trial will bring more than a gigabit per second bandwidth to the Intel office, enabling Internet access, VPN, Unified Communications applications and 4K video streams. (See also: Intel and AT&T Launch Platform for IoT.)
“The future of video is mobile. And the future of mobile is video,” said Tom Keathley, senior vice president, wireless network architecture and design, AT&T. “Mobile video streaming continues to be a vital aspect of our 5G work, and this trial gives us an opportunity to test 4K HD video streaming across further physical distances between pieces of equipment. With our 5G and 4G LTE advancements, we expect speeds rivaling what we see from cable providers. Our path to 5G will help make this vision a reality faster.”
5G Expected to Be The Next Big Growth Driver
For AT&T and the other wireless carriers, 5G is breathing new life into a saturated mobile market. If 5G can live up to its hype, it could provide super-fast broadband connectivity to homes, businesses and billions of devices constantly transmitting data back and forth. AT&T isn’t the only telecom company that is eyeing the 5G market. Earlier this month, Nokia Inc. (NOK) CEO Rajeev Suri said 5G will play a key role in the adoption of IoT—the Internet of Things, devices that connect to the internet and can communicate with each other—and that Nokia plans to be a leader there. (See also: Nokia CEO: 5G, IoT Will Drive Growth.)
“With the [IoT], billions of devices are connected. Everybody, everything is connected. All of those is enabled by 5G because when 5G was conceived, the idea was to be able to have a technology that enables many, many things to be connected,” said Suri. “So I think 5G enables IoT. And IoT brings time back to people like us, consumers. We will get more time. We will get more productivity in our lives. But more importantly, there will be a lot of productivity coming to various kinds of companies in various sectors.”