AT&T lays plans to begin testing 5G data in 2016, brings back 2-for-1 iPhone deal

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AT&T on Friday announced its plans to test 5G network technology, beginning with lab tests in the second quarter done in collaboration with Intel and Ericsson.




The first outdoor tests and trials will run over the summer, AT&T said. By the end of the year, those trials should include providing connections to "fixed locations" in Austin, Texas.

The carrier claimed that when it's complete, its 5G network should be able to provide speeds 10 to 100 times faster than an average LTE connection, measured in gigabits instead of megabits. Latency could be as low as 1 to 5 milliseconds.

AT&T didn't offer a specific timeline for when 5G would reach the public, but noted that the 3GPP standards group will probably complete the first phase of setting 5G standards in 2018, leaving an actual commercial launch a distant prospect.

In September Verizon announced its own plans to start testing 5G in 2016. The carrier made more conservative promises than AT&T, suggesting speeds up to 50 times those of LTE, and lag under 10 milliseconds. It also admitted that 5G would probably only come to the U.S. sometime after 2020.

The LTE standard still has room to grow, as carriers are still working on increasing the reach of LTE-Advanced, which can potentially hit speeds up to 450 megabits per second -- faster than many landline Internet connections. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were the first Apple devices with LTE-Advanced support.

AT&T has meanwhile announced the return of a limited-time promotion offering a second "free" iPhone with the purchase of a new one. Both phones must initially be bought through AT&T's Next installment program, and the second one must moreover be on a new line and put on a 24-month payment scheme. Once the devices are on qualifying voice and data plans, the company will begin paying back $650 spread over the course of 30 monthly bill credits -- starting sometime within the first three billing cycles.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    Just visited AT&T's Web site. The offer is only for Scamsung Galaxy phones.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,938member
    It’s starting to look like wireless is the future of broadband. You can theorize all you want to about fiber optic cables to the premises but the fact remains that fiber is an expensive and labor intensive infrastructure project to build while antennas are relatively cheap and easy to maintain. Then there’s LiFi in the labs too. Providers will always opt for the most cost effective delivery system and wireless looks good in that respect. If I could get a reliable 450mbps wireless connection in my home that would be my broadband choice.
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 3 of 13

    AT&T has meanwhile announced the return of a limited-time promotion offering a second "free" iPhone with the purchase of a new one. Both phones must initially be bought through AT&T's Next installment program, and the second one must moreover be on a new line and put on a 24-month payment scheme. Once the devices are on qualifying voice and data plans, the company will begin paying back $650 spread over the course of 30 monthly bill credits -- starting sometime within the first three billing cycles.

    So in other words the 2 for 1 deal is a pain in the ass to take advantage of...
  • Reply 4 of 13
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,779member
    lkrupp said:
    It’s starting to look like wireless is the future of broadband. You can theorize all you want to about fiber optic cables to the premises but the fact remains that fiber is an expensive and labor intensive infrastructure project to build while antennas are relatively cheap and easy to maintain. Then there’s LiFi in the labs too. Providers will always opt for the most cost effective delivery system and wireless looks good in that respect. If I could get a reliable 450mbps wireless connection in my home that would be my broadband choice.
    As always, it depends. I think both fiber and wireless will continue to expand. New 5G wireless will be great IF you have a good connection. Many residential communities, including mine, have poor signals because nobody wants a cell tower in their neighborhood (depends where you live obviously). For similar reasons cell towers are difficult to permit and you need massive fiber installations from the tower to the datacenter so the infrastructure is not exactly trivial. Another consideration is that carriers have to pay land leases that can amount to several thousand per month per tower. In general, they will mostly just upgrade their existing towers to 5G rather than build new ones.

    On the other hand, fiber is necessary for businesses that require static IPs and fiber also comes with a guaranteed speed unlike wireless. There are many new data centers being built and they all need fiber, so I think the future will clearly include a lot of fiber, but faster wireless would certainly be welcome as well.

    edited February 2016 dasanman69jackansianantksundaram
  • Reply 5 of 13
    lkrupp said:
    It’s starting to look like wireless is the future of broadband. You can theorize all you want to about fiber optic cables to the premises but the fact remains that fiber is an expensive and labor intensive infrastructure project to build while antennas are relatively cheap and easy to maintain. Then there’s LiFi in the labs too. Providers will always opt for the most cost effective delivery system and wireless looks good in that respect. If I could get a reliable 450mbps wireless connection in my home that would be my broadband choice.
    *Bandwidth caps, throttling and overage charges may will definitely apply.

    Until that line disappears from wireless, specifically the wireless talked about here, suggesting it as "the future of broadband" only shows willful ignorance of the real world.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 6 of 13
    AT&T on Friday announced its plans to test 5G network technology, beginning with lab tests in the second quarter done in collaboration with Intel and Ericsson. 

    A University in Birmingham U.K began testing 5G last year. AT&T are behind with times.....!
  • Reply 7 of 13
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    AT&T on Friday announced its plans to test 5G network technology, beginning with lab tests in the second quarter done in collaboration with Intel and Ericsson. 

    A University in Birmingham U.K began testing 5G last year. AT&T are behind with times.....!
    They have had active 10G in Japan and South Korea for the past decade.

  • Reply 8 of 13
    jackansi said:
    lkrupp said:
    It’s starting to look like wireless is the future of broadband. You can theorize all you want to about fiber optic cables to the premises but the fact remains that fiber is an expensive and labor intensive infrastructure project to build while antennas are relatively cheap and easy to maintain. Then there’s LiFi in the labs too. Providers will always opt for the most cost effective delivery system and wireless looks good in that respect. If I could get a reliable 450mbps wireless connection in my home that would be my broadband choice.
    *Bandwidth caps, throttling and overage charges may will definitely apply.

    Until that line disappears from wireless, specifically the wireless talked about here, suggesting it as "the future of broadband" only shows willful ignorance of the real world.
    Yes, if 5G gets a real world 1 Gbps throughput then that 2 GB/month limit my wife uses can be wasted in 16 seconds. Theoretically a single page visit to a craftily created web site could do that. My account would go in 20 seconds.

     That AT&T 2 for 1 deal might actually be pretty good. Anyone see any major caveats or costs that reduce its value significantly (other than the need to be committed for 30 months)?
    edited February 2016 anantksundaram
  • Reply 9 of 13
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    There is no such thing as 5G. We don't have 4G now either. Yes, I know we're told that LTE is 4G, but it isn't. Maybe some people here will remember, but several years ago, the carriers and manufacturers lobbied the 4G technical comittee to be able to call LTE 4G. After about 6 months, the comittee agreed. But really, LTE is 3G+. Real 4G is LTE Advanced.

    there are a couple of test installations that run LTE Advanced, and have been for a couple of years. But there are no commercial deployments anywhere around the world, and there won't be for at least a year, maybe two.

    So it's not possible for AT&T or Verizon to be testing 5G, because no one knows what it might be. There is a group that wants it to be equivalent to 10G Ethernet. Another wants it to be a mesh system. Another wants it to be LoT. There are other ideas as well. So at this point in time, there is no agreement as to what 5G will be. So there are no chips that can deliver 5G, no electronics at all that can. And that's because no one knows what it will be.

    the only thing I can figure here, it that what AT&T and Verizon are saying is 5G is really LTE Advanced, which, as I've said, is actual 4G, which we don't have now.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    razorpit said:

    AT&T has meanwhile announced the return of a limited-time promotion offering a second "free" iPhone with the purchase of a new one. Both phones must initially be bought through AT&T's Next installment program, and the second one must moreover be on a new line and put on a 24-month payment scheme. Once the devices are on qualifying voice and data plans, the company will begin paying back $650 spread over the course of 30 monthly bill credits -- starting sometime within the first three billing cycles.

    So in other words the 2 for 1 deal is a pain in the ass to take advantage of...
    no. in other words the two in one deal is a shell game in which nothing is actually free. 
    You buy one, you lease two, then they pay you back for one.   What's the net? 
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 11 of 13
    ksecksec Posts: 1,554member
    melgross said:
    There is no such thing as 5G. We don't have 4G now either. Yes, I know we're told that LTE is 4G, but it isn't. Maybe some people here will remember, but several years ago, the carriers and manufacturers lobbied the 4G technical comittee to be able to call LTE 4G. After about 6 months, the comittee agreed. But really, LTE is 3G+. Real 4G is LTE Advanced.

    there are a couple of test installations that run LTE Advanced, and have been for a couple of years. But there are no commercial deployments anywhere around the world, and there won't be for at least a year, maybe two.

    So it's not possible for AT&T or Verizon to be testing 5G, because no one knows what it might be. There is a group that wants it to be equivalent to 10G Ethernet. Another wants it to be a mesh system. Another wants it to be LoT. There are other ideas as well. So at this point in time, there is no agreement as to what 5G will be. So there are no chips that can deliver 5G, no electronics at all that can. And that's because no one knows what it will be.

    the only thing I can figure here, it that what AT&T and Verizon are saying is 5G is really LTE Advanced, which, as I've said, is actual 4G, which we don't have now.
    LTE is actually what's called 3.9G before they rename it to 4G. The target for 4G was 1Gbps. And it was always a target, you cant continue to call LTE 3.9G until it reaches 1Gbps. So I think it was fair to say LTE well worth the 4G name, even just the latency reduction was enough. 

    *The trouble was some US companies try to use HSPA+ as 4G, which it really isn't. But that is another story.

    LTE Advanced are actually deployed in many places, HK, Singapore, South Korea, Japan... etc all the usual suspect.

    The LTE Advanced Pro, which is based on 3GPP Release 13, ( not even officially released yet, scheduled to be finalize next month, March 2016 ) goes up to 1Gbps. Fulfilling the promise of the original 4G. Some call it 4.5G, some call it 4.9G.   
    Qualcomm already announced a Modem X16 that is capable of 1Gbps yday. But you are unlikely to ever get that speed because the Antenna and bandwidth requirement are not likely to be meet in typical scenario.

    The 5G path actually start with 3GPP Release 14, which gets the latency down to 5ms. The Target for 5G is 1ms, so the latency reduction work will continue in 3GPP Release 15 / 16. But unlike the rolling out of 4G / LTE, Release 14 is very much an evolution of LTE, using the same OFDMA. The upgrade and reduction of latency from HSPA to LTE requires a changes of Air Interface from W-CDMA to ODFMA. There will definetely be a new Air Interface for 5G, but it is not decided yet as research continues,  so you can imagine it is still far way from deployment. They are hoping to include it in Release 15, and if they cant decided upon it the new Air Interface will likely land in Release 16. 

    So what AT&T, Verizon, and other say testing 5G, what they mean is 3GPP R14. R13 and R14 has features like 3D Beamforming, Massive MIMO, Smart Duplex system such as using the upload segment for download, and many other tricks to hugely improve capacity. You can expect at least 10x capacity improvement once the system has been fully upgraded. 

  • Reply 12 of 13
    Why bother with 5G when they haven't really figured out 4G for the rest of us. Bah!
  • Reply 13 of 13
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    melgross said:
    There is no such thing as 5G. We don't have 4G now either. Yes, I know we're told that LTE is 4G, but it isn't. Maybe some people here will remember, but several years ago, the carriers and manufacturers lobbied the 4G technical comittee to be able to call LTE 4G. After about 6 months, the comittee agreed. But really, LTE is 3G+. Real 4G is LTE Advanced.

    there are a couple of test installations that run LTE Advanced, and have been for a couple of years. But there are no commercial deployments anywhere around the world, and there won't be for at least a year, maybe two.

    So it's not possible for AT&T or Verizon to be testing 5G, because no one knows what it might be. There is a group that wants it to be equivalent to 10G Ethernet. Another wants it to be a mesh system. Another wants it to be LoT. There are other ideas as well. So at this point in time, there is no agreement as to what 5G will be. So there are no chips that can deliver 5G, no electronics at all that can. And that's because no one knows what it will be.

    the only thing I can figure here, it that what AT&T and Verizon are saying is 5G is really LTE Advanced, which, as I've said, is actual 4G, which we don't have now.
    Doesnt the G mean generation? AT&T is free to call it whatever they like.  I recall they called GSM 1g, Edge 2g, then HSPA 3G, then HSPA+ 4g, then LTE they simply called it LTE...which would be embarrassing to call it 5g because they already used 4g for HSPA+.   So if we continue along using G as generation we would be much higher than 5g for which they are calling 5g in the article.
    edited February 2016
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