AT&T adds Nokia to 5G roster

AT&T (NYSE: T) says it is now working with Nokia (NYSE:NOK) to expand its 5G lab trial work. Besides its work in Austin, Texas, AT&T has started system and software architecture lab work in Atlanta; Middletown, New Jersey; and San Ramon, California.

AT&T says it is working with Nokia to define 5G features, capabilities and test cases for trials, with a variety of 5G technologies factored into their tests, including sub-6Hz and mmWave spectrum use, low latency, advanced beamforming and very high throughput.

In February, AT&T announced it was working with Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Intel to test 5G network technology in its network labs.

Tom Keathley, senior vice president, wireless network architecture and design at AT&T, said they've seen great results in the 5G lab trials, including reaching speeds above 10 gigabits per second in early tests with Ericsson. "Nokia is joining to help us test millimeter wave (mmWave), which we expect to play a key role in 5G development and deployment," he said in a release. "The work coming out of AT&T Labs will pave the way toward future international 5G standards and allow us to deliver these fast 5G speeds and network performance across the U.S."

Keathley previously has said the operator would start testing at 15 GHz because that's where equipment is available and then move to 28 GHz later this year. A big aim is to find out how millimeter wave technology works and then pour back the learnings into the standards work.

Other operators in the U.S. also are conducting 5G tests and trials that they hope will be used to develop the eventual standards. Verizon  (NYSE: VZ) announced last year that it was working with partners Alcatel-Lucent (now part of Nokia), Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung to test 5G in the company's innovation centers in Waltham, Mass., and San Francisco.  

Besides reaching multi-gigabit speeds, AT&T said its initial 5G lab trials also simulate real-world environment scenarios and strenuous conditions, like increased amounts of data transmission at a given time, similar to what its customers might see at a concert or football game.  

"Early latency performance tests have shown positive signs for future consumer experiences, such as self-driving cars," the operator said. "For example, in order for the self-driving car experience to meet future customer expectations, we believe it will be critical to quickly communicate with other connected vehicles and objects while navigating the street. 5G multi-gigabit speeds and very low latency will enable this feat to become a reality in years to come."

By the end of this summer, AT&T expects to conduct outdoor 5G wireless connectivity trials to fixed locations in cities such as Austin and Middletown. The 3GPP is likely to complete the first phase of the standards-setting process in 2018. 

For more:
- see this AT&T post

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