Mobile operators across the nation have been working with vendors on various 5G trials, in anticipation of the commercial availability of the new standard in 2020. Most operators need those vendors to help evolve the complex 5G network architecture and minimize its potential risks.
AT&T 5G Trials
AT&T’s 5G trials are helping the company guide its 5G 3GPP standards contributions. AT&T has been testing 5G fixed wireless equipment with vendors, and it showed the possibilities of millimeter wave (mmWave) radio access technology for the networks of the future.
AT&T and partners such as Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia, and Intel have been testing fixed mmWave technology, which can deliver multi-gigabit speeds using an undeveloped band of spectrum. These 5G trials included video streaming, download, and conferencing experiences and realized upload and download speeds around 1Gbps. In 2017, AT&T tested next-generation entertainment services over fixed 5G connections, providing valuable lessons about how fixed wireless mmWave technology handles heavy video traffic.
In 2017, AT&T collaborated with Intel and Ericsson on mmWave testing in an ultra-fast 5G network experience. Participating residential, small-business, and enterprise customers streamed premium live TV service and experienced speedy broadband services over a fixed wireless 5G network.
In early 2017, AT&T partnered with both Qualcomm and Ericsson for mobile and fixed wireless trials based on the 5G New Radio (5G NR) specification. The trials tested both mobile and fixed wireless solutions operating in mmWave spectrum, showcasing new 5G radio mmWave technologies for increasing network capacity while achieving multi-gigabit data rates.
Sprint 5G Trials
Sprint has been actively working with standards bodies to help develop the global 5G standard.
In June 2016, Sprint demonstrated 5G at a large-scale public event. This 5G trial, coordinated with Nokia, used 73 GHz mmWave spectrum to deliver peak download speeds of more than 2Gbps. Attendees experienced a live, highly responsive, streaming virtual reality (VR) system, as well as live streamed video in 4K ultra HD.
Verizon 5G Trials
In 2017, Verizon tested super-fast wireless 5G service with customers in 11 cities, marking the carrier’s serious move into the 5G future. Those customers experienced Internet service that provided significantly higher speed and responsiveness, at 1Gbps speeds or faster.
Verizon also embarked on 5G trials with Intel and Ericsson on a 5G residential trial featuring a 5G-connected home that demonstrated how consumers will be able to make the most of future multi-gigabit 5G speeds with low latency and high capacity.
Another earlier trial involved Verizon partnering with Nokia to test 5G’s “extreme broadband” potential, in which wired broadband access to residential and commercial buildings was replaced with wireless. The 5G wireless broadband solution delivered Ultra HD 4K video content on multiple devices with superior traffic speed and data throughput.
5G Trials Continue
The 5G trial work on the horizon will be for operators and vendors to continue their tests to make sure they’re meeting the broadband commitments they made for 5G, reliability levels, and low-latency indicators. In doing so, over the next 2 years the industry will experience more clarity surrounding what 5G can do.