AT&T says it has successfully delivered the company’s streaming video service, DirecTV Now, over a 5G fixed wireless trial network. The trial, which was conducted in the 39 GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, used Nokia’s AirScale radio access platform.
AT&T acquired a bunch of 24 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum when it purchased FiberTower earlier this month. FiberTower used the spectrum in those bands, formerly known as LMDS bands, for fixed wireless services. The company also has some fiber and microwave assets.
AT&T has said that it plans to deploy small cells using a centralized radio access network (C-RAN) architecture that incorporates mmWave spectrum. The goal is to use small cells to densify its network in urban areas, which in turn will add capacity and provide the foundation for 5G. The company added that the C-RAN architecture will allow it to store all the “brains” of each small cell or tower in one location. That strategy will then make it easier for AT&T to transition to a network that relies on software-defined networking (SDN).
Earlier this year, John Donovan, AT&T chief strategy officer and group president for technology and operations, said that AT&T was going to test DirecTV Now video service over a fixed wireless 5G connection in the first half of the year in Austin, Texas. That trial will include multiple sites and devices.
Those tests will include over-the-air field trials and interoperability testing and are intended to accelerate the deployment of standards-compliant 5G NR gear and devices.