Telecommunications giant AT&T said Thursday that it plans to launch a full mobile 5G service by the end of the year in a dozen U.S. cities.
AT&T officials declined to say if Austin would be one of those 12 markets. Since last year AT&T has been testing a similar service in Austin and 22 other metro areas.
The term “5G” stands for 5th generation wireless broadband technology, which is expected to allow for faster speeds and better data capacity than the current 4G networks.
Dallas-based AT&T said it expects to be the first U.S. company to roll out a true 5G service.
The new 5G technology “will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment,” Melissa Arnoldi, president of AT&T’s technology and operations division, said in a written statement. “We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more.”
Austin has been one of 23 U.S. metro areas where AT&T has been testing its 5G Evolution network, a service that industry analysts say has been the equivalent of a faster 4G-LTE service and not a true 5G service.
Part of the reason AT&T and other providers have not yet launched a full 5G network is because there had not been any industry standards set for the network.
But that changed as new standards were adopted recently by 3GPP, the organization that governs cellphone standards.
“With these specifications now available, hardware, chipset and device manufacturers can start development,” AT&T said. “This allows us to provide mobile 5G services sooner.”
The 5G technology is expected to include speeds that are 10 to 100 times faster than 4G, AT&T has said.
The new network should also reduce delays when playing video, a component that has become a a key traffic booster for companies like AT&T.
AT&T did not say which phones or devices would be compatible with the new 5G service. The company also said it would continue to enhance and launch the 5G Evolution service in more cities.
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