AT&T is preparing to test a new 5G network. The field-test for the company’s next-generation data network will start in Austin, Texas, before the end of 2016.
The company’s biggest competitor, Verizon, recently said it would start rolling out its 5G network by 2017 — years earlier than experts had expected.
AT&T recently called Verizon’s announcement immature, and noted that the standards for what constitutes 5G won’t even be set until 2018.
AT&T hasn’t given a date for a nationwide rollout.
The new 5G network is being created with help from Ericsson and Intel. The company says it will test the platform in a lab this spring before rolling it out in Austin, Texas, in late 2016.
5G is expected to deliver speeds between 10 and 100 times faster than current 4G data networks.
“New experiences like virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more are about to test networks like never before,” said John Donovan, AT&T’s chief strategy officer, in a statement. “5G will help make them a reality.”
Experts on the 5G panel held by the CTIA wireless association recently said the average consumer won’t even experience the benefits of 5G mobile data networks until 2020.
It’s important to remember that “5G” isn’t a plug-and-play solution. Each network is testing its own hardware and software aimed at increasing the speed and reliability of their networks.
Much like high-speed internet, a speed threshold will eventually be set by a standards board, which will allow mobile networks to deem their data speeds to be meeting the 5G standard that is set by industry experts.