Specifically, the carrier has entered preliminary discussions with Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, SK Telecom, Telstra, Vodafone, and others to find and resolve key standards issues early and bring 5G to market sooner.
“We’re joining other tech leaders to find and resolve key standards issues early and bring 5G to market sooner,” said Tom Keathley, senior vice president- wireless network architecture and design, AT&T. “Interim and fragmented pre-standard specifications can distract from the ultimate goal. Linking trials to the standards process is the fastest path to large-scale global 5G deployment.”AT&T began trialing 5G wireless technologies this year, including lab tests in the second quarter and outdoor tests in Middletown, New Jersey and Austin, Texas over the summer. The carrier anticipated 5G speeds to be 10 to 100 times faster than today's average 4G LTE connections, with reduced latency, and it achieved that goal in June when its 5G data speeds hit up to 10 Gbps in the lab.
As it stands, 5G is still a ways off. The 3GPP group aims to complete the first phase of the worldwide standards process by 2018, but AT&T's own 5G network rollout is not expected until a few years later in 2020. It also remains too soon to determine Apple's roadmap for 5G in terms of future iPhones. But, given AT&T's efforts, 5G deployment could take place at least somewhat sooner than anticipated.