US mobile giant AT&T has indicated that it is likely to be in a position to launch ‘standards-based mobile 5G services’ as soon as late-2018. The disclosure comes after wireless standards body 3GPP agreed to accelerate some elements in the 5G new radio (NR) timeline last week. In an official post on AT&T’s Innovation Blog, Andre Fuetsch, President of AT&T Labs and Chief Technology Officer, commented: ‘As an industry, interim and fragmented pre-standard specifications can distract from our ultimate goal. We’re confident this latest milestone will help bring standards-based 5G to market faster without compromising its long-term vision … We’re staying in sync with the industry as whole. At the same time, we remain as aggressive as anyone when it comes to preparing for a 5G world. In fact, our standards team found that we’re the top North American wireless carrier contributor into 3GPP’s work on 5G standards since the start of 2016.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last month AT&T and Nokia confirmed that they had successfully completed fixed-wireless 5G tests in the 39GHz band, using the vendor’s commercially available AirScale radio access platform. The pair noted that both the 39GHz band and the 28GHz band are particularly attractive 5G options due to the large amount bandwidth available, although there is ‘significantly more’ 39GHz spectrum available. Nokia began testing mmWave technology with AT&T in 2016.