AT&T to launch 5G services to consumers from late 2018

2017-03-16 13:13:54 | Source:Telecompaper

AT&T is aiming to launch standards-based mobile 5G services to consumers from late 2018, Labs chief and CTO Andre Fuetsch said, noting the launch would then be one year ahead of expectations, reports Telecompaper on March 15, 2017. Fuetsch noted therecent agreement by 3GPP to accelerate some elements in the 5G new radio (NR) timeline, adding that 47 global operators and vendors have signed the new proposal. Gordon Mansfield, AT&T's Vice President RAN & Device Design, earlier told Telecompaper that the company wanted to move quickly with 5G and that it was already testing pre-commercial applications. The CTO highlighted the fact that about 137 petabytes of data traffic crosses AT&T's network on an average business day. Data traffic on its mobile network has grown more than 250,000 percent since 2007. Video now makes up more than half of mobile data traffic. Last year alone, video traffic grew over 75 percent and smartphones drove almost 75 percent of data traffic.
The accelerated schedule includes a plan to complete key components of the 5G standards needed to start chipset development in December 2017, six months ahead of the expected 3GPP full Release 15. These key components include the specifications for 5G NR along with the non-standalone option for the core network interface. The December 2017 standards milestone will unveil the first complete picture of a holistic 5G system, enabling hardware, chipset, and device manufacturers to start their development earlier. Operators, in turn, will be able to provide standards-based mobile 5G service sooner to customers, with many in the industry aiming for 2019.
AT&T said it supports both non-standalone and standalone options for the 5G standard and that the December 2017 timeline will accelerate the availability of hardware for both options. Each operator will be able to select the option that fits their deployment plans. The operator said it has worked with the 3GPP to map out how users can start with the non-standalone option and then evolve the network to standalone. This will be part of its AT&T Network 3.0 Indigo platform. All capabilities will run on its Open Network Automation Platform.
The work plan for the accelerated December 2017 timeline fits into a broader schedule for 3GPP Release 15. The Release 15 5G specifications are expected to be completed in June 2018, including both stand-alone and non-standalone. They will define the path from LTE to non-standalone and standalone, including support for 5G enhanced mobile broadband use cases. 3GPP Release 16 is set to be completed in late 2019 and will cover the remaining 5G use cases and requirements. This includes support for the massive internet of things (IoT) and ultra-high reliability and low-latency applications. Together, the two releases are expected to cover all of the 5G use cases and requirements being specified by the 3GPP and the International Telecommunications Union.


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