US telecoms giant AT&T has unveiled its ‘5G Evolution’ plans for 2017 and beyond, also reaffirming its intention to offer commercial 1Gbps download speeds over its existing LTE infrastructure during 2017. With this in mind, AT&T says that it is currently in the process of deploying ‘three-way [tri-band] carrier aggregation (3C) in select areas and plans to introduce four-way [quad-band] carrier aggregation (4C) as well as LTE-Licence Assisted Access (LAA) this year’. Looking ahead to the 5G era, AT&T intends to stage a 5G video trial in Austin, Texas in the first half of 2017. The pilot will allow residential users to stream the ‘DirecTV Now’ video service over a fixed-wireless connection, and will incorporate multiple sites and multiple devices. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, AT&T has teamed up with Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson to stage mobile and fixed wireless trials in the second half of 2017.
Meanwhile, in terms of its fixed line activities AT&T confirms it is now marketing a 1Gbps connection to nearly four million locations across 46 metropolitan areas nationwide, including more than 650,000 apartments and condominium units. By mid-2019 the telco plans to reach at least 12.5 million locations across 67 metro areas with its fibre service. In addition, AT&T is conducting technology trials over fixed wireless point-to-point mmWave and G.fast technologies with a view to delivering greater speeds and efficiencies within its copper and fibre networks. Finally, the telco expects to launch a new fixed wireless internet (FWI) service in mid-2017 in areas where it has accepted Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) support. The operator expects to reach more than 400,000 locations by the end of 2017 across 18 states, most of which will get internet access for the first time. By the end of 2020 AT&T plans to reach 1.1 million locations in those 18 states.