AT&T expands '5G Evolution' to 117 markets, sets stage for mobile 5G rollout this year

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Apple partner carrier AT&T on Thursday announced the expansion of "5G Evolution" wireless technology to more than 100 U.S. markets, laying the foundation for a planned mobile 5G service launch later this year.

AT&T Van


Previously limited to 24 markets, 5G Evolution technologies were recently enabled in 117 markets across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, delivering greatly improved data transfer speeds -- up to a theoretical 400 megabits per second -- to compatible devices.

While not compliant with 3GPP's 5G specification, 5G Evolution combines existing 4G technologies to achieve faster speeds and serves as a stepping stone to full-spec mobile capabilities. AT&T plans to use the interim protocol's expanding network as a foundation for a true cellular 5G deployment set to begin in 2018.

"We're building a 5G network that will fundamentally change the way the world lives and works," said Melissa Arnoldi, president of Technology & Operations at AT&T. "5G will provide a wireless experience that is faster, more responsive and more secure for our customers."

The company is looking to enable 5G Evolution in more than 500 markets throughout 2018, including major cities like Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington D.C.

In addition to the 5G Evolution buildout, AT&T flipped the switch on LTE-LAA in three new markets -- Boston, Sacramento and McAllen, Texas -- bringing the total number of locales where the speedy communications technology is available up to seven. The company plans to bring LTE-LAA to at least 24 markets this year.

AT&T first committed to 5G in January, saying it hopes to be the first major network to support the standard by launching in 12 markets by the end of 2018. Additional metropolitan locations will be added in 2019.

Other U.S. carriers are also planning 5G integration, with Sprint and T-Mobile planning network launch dates next year. Market leader Verizon has been evaluating similar network upgrades since 2016 and has promised support for mobile users in the near future.

Smartphone makers are likewise preparing to make the jump to 5G. Apple last year filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to start testing 5G connectivity, though whether the feature will debut with this year's iPhone refresh is unknown.

In November, reports suggested the company is working closely with baseband chip supplier Intel on 5G modem solutions. Earlier this year, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted the company would ditch Qualcomm for Intel silicon, potentially the XMM 7560 LTE Advanced Pro chip. Currently, Apple relies on Intel chips for GSM iPhones, while CDMA models use Qualcomm components.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    Now it will only take 5 seconds to hit my monthly bandwidth limit and get throttled and charged for excessive use.
    edredtallest skilSpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 10
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 665member
    Now it will only take 5 seconds to hit my monthly bandwidth limit and get throttled and charged for excessive use.
    They’ll increase the data limits. They want to get you hooked to screw you out of every penny they can. They don’t want you to turn off data.  Switch to T-Mobile if you’re in the US.  No additional charges. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 10
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,745member
    So from this article AT&T have this thing that is called 5G Evolution, which is a mix of 4G technologies that is faster than garden variety 4G, so is still 4G, but it is called 5G Evolution, because everyone is talking about 5G and the marketing department thought it would be a good idea.

    And the worst bit is “ not compliant with the 3GPP’s 5G specification”
    I think I’ve seen this movie before, when LTE was “rolled”out.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    seankillseankill Posts: 475member
    entropys said:
    So from this article AT&T have this thing that is called 5G Evolution, which is a mix of 4G technologies that is faster than garden variety 4G, so is still 4G, but it is called 5G Evolution, because everyone is talking about 5G and the marketing department thought it would be a good idea.

    And the worst bit is “ not compliant with the 3GPP’s 5G specification”
    I think I’ve seen this movie before, when LTE was “rolled”out.
    Yep, exactly right. When “4G” launched but it was not 4G LTE. So they could sound as good as the other carriers with 4G LTE but it was more like 3.5G. 
  • Reply 5 of 10
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,904member
    Now it will only take 5 seconds to hit my monthly bandwidth limit and get throttled and charged for excessive use.
    Not sure if that was tongue in cheek but if you don't change your usage habits you shouldn't see yourself using more data if you are careful. You will just get that data quicker.

    That said, if your data plan is restrictive you will probably have to make sure some variable bandwidth apps don't suck up all your data when they detect a fast connection.
    christophb
  • Reply 6 of 10
    FolioFolio Posts: 566member
    Of course rollout over big country like US will be in steps. Tougher tech challenge with mm waves. Big boys Verizon and ATT will be spending each ~$20B a year to install. Different league than others. That’s why you hear merger talks again.
  • Reply 7 of 10
    Lab4UsLab4Us Posts: 30member
    So will next iPhones/iPads be compatible?  Is this tied to upcoming WWDC?  As the World Turns...

    on a side note, my small city of 120k is actually listed!
  • Reply 8 of 10
    FolioFolio Posts: 566member
    No worry, it’ll be gradual and backwards compatible. Big question I have is will it make cable operators all but obsolete.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    williamh said:
    They’ll increase the data limits.
    Ha! That’s hilarious.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 10 of 10
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,756member
    Lab4Us said:
    So will next iPhones/iPads be compatible?  Is this tied to upcoming WWDC?  As the World Turns...

    on a side note, my small city of 120k is actually listed!
    Not if Apple goes with Intel modem's again.   They throttle the Qualcomm modems because they don't want people realizing they are using some modems that aren't as good.   5G won't really get to Apple phones for a few years more.   They were behind android with LTE ; probably will be the same again.

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