Verizon and AT&T are in a high stakes race to be the first to get to 5G -- and it could some very soon.
AT&T is getting ready to test its new speedy “5G” service later this year, and it could represent a sea change for the telecommunications industry.
AT&T is testing so called “fifth generation” wireless to keep up with Verizon, which is doing the same, trying to be the first to score service that is between 10 and 100 times faster than 4G LTE service available today, according to a USA Today report.
How fast is that? Imagine downloading an entire TV show in three seconds.
Trials are scheduled at fixed locations in Austin, Texas, beginning in the second quarter of this year. Verizon announced in September it was also going to do 5G field tests in 2016.
AT&T is partnering with Ericsson and Intel, while Verizon is partnering with Ericsson, Samsung, Qualcomm, Nokia, and Alcatel-Lucent.
Don’t expect to get these crazy fast speeds right away, though. Even after the tests, a lot of work will need to be done before the public can start using it, with 2020 being the likely start date.
Telecommunication companies have been scrambling to keep up with exploding demand over the past decade. Data traffic on AT&T’s wireless network increased by an astonishing 150,000 percent from 2007 through 2015. 5G will help the company deal with the huge amount of video downloads, as 60 percent of data traffic in 2016 is expected to be related to video, according to the report.
“New experiences like virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more are about to test networks like never before,” John Donovan, Chief Strategy Officer and Group President, AT&T Technology and Operations, said in a statement. “These technologies will be immersive, pervasive and responsive to customers. 5G will help make them a reality. 5G will reach its full potential because we will build it on a software-centric architecture that can adapt quickly to new demands and give customers more control of their network services. Our approach is simple – deliver a unified experience built with 5G, software-defined networking (SDN), Big Data, security and open source software.”