AT&T has announced its plans to begin field testing a new 5G network, which has the capability of being up to 100 times faster than our current 4G networks, according to Re/code’s Ina Fried.
The news comes shortly after Verizon’s announcement in December that it was field testing its own 5G network and was aiming to roll out 5G coverage as early as next year.
Unlike 4G, which launched and is primarily used on smartphones, 5G-enabled smartphones are still probably 3 or 4 years out, and it’s more likely to be used for home broadband. Getting high-speed wireless internet has become a hot topic recently, but even so, 5G-enabled broadband devices won’t roll out for another year or two; so why announce it now?
In this pre-rollout stage, the primary focus for Verizon, AT&T, and any other adopters of this upcoming standard is to build out their networks as quickly as possible. That way, when 5G-enabled products do start rolling out a few years from now, the mobile providers’ 5G coverage won’t be poor to non-existent. None of the big wireless carriers want to be left behind.
The next hurdle is standardization. Verizon had already announced it’s working with Ericsson, Qualcomm, Cisco Systems, and others on 5G technology, which is an indicator that it could already focused on tackling the issue.
But while we wait for true 5G connectivity, LTE is set to get even faster through “LTE-Advanced-Plus,” which will push our current networks to their maximum potential.