AT&T expects to be the first U.S. company to introduce mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by late 2018.
3GPP, the international wireless standards body, completed key elements of 5G new radio (NR) standards last month. With these specifications now available, hardware, chipset and device manufacturers can start development. This allows AT&T to provide mobile 5G services sooner.
In addition to plans for offering mobile 5G to consumers this year, AT&T expects to trial 5G technology with businesses of all sizes across industries.
As standards continue to develop, 5G will advance and won't just be about faster speeds on your phone. It will also mean much lower latency, which will be enhanced by a new range of applications utilizing edge computing.
Latency refers to how long it takes for the network to recognize you've requested a chunk of data and to start sending you that data. For example, it's the brief delay between the moment you press play on a streaming video app and the moment the video shows up on your screen.
AT&T expects future 5G technologies will eventually allow future driverless vehicles to make real-time decisions based on information that goes beyond the individual sensors onboard the vehicle itself. Vehicles will be able to "see" around corners, through other vehicles, and at longer distances. This will enable vehicles to quickly make sense of their environment and help guide safe operations on the road.
AT&T also plans to continue to enhance their network with 5G Evolution technology in hundreds of additional metro areas.