AT&T reveals Ericsson and Intel 5G collaboration

15 February 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe

AT&T has unveiled plans to start collaborating with Ericsson and Intel on 5G solutions in lab trials from the second quarter of 2016.

Revealed within its 5G network roadmap, AT&T said outdoor tests and trials will be held by early summer with the first wireless connectivity field trials set to take place at fixed locations in Austin, Texas.

The potential of 5G will be reached as AT&T build a software-centric architecture that “can adapt quickly to new demands and give customers more control of their network services,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president of AT&T Technology and Operations.

“Our approach is simple – deliver a unified experience built with 5G, software-defined networking (SDN), big data, security and open source software.”

AT&T Labs said it has filed dozens of patents connected with millimetre waves, network function virtualisation and SDN, as it sees these as “key ingredients for future 5G experiences”.

Arun Bansal, head of business unit radio at Ericsson, said: “Ericsson is enabling AT&T to move beyond 5G lab tests to gain a greater understanding of 5G’s potential in their own network environments and markets.”

Some people predict 5G delivery speeds will be 10-100 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE connections, with speeds measured in gigabits per second coupled with lower latency levels.

“At Intel, we know that working with partners like AT&T and Ericsson is essential to bringing faster and more efficient wireless networks that will bring new and richer experiences to our lives,” added Aicha Evans of Intel Communication and Devices Group.

The trials will help guide its 5G standards contributions and set the stage for widespread mobile availability. 3GPP, the international standards body, will likely complete the first phase of that process in 2018.

AT&T expects to stage a full commercial launch in 2020.