AT&T Communications has confirmed that it has completed field test calls over C-band 5G spectrum using a Mobile Test Platform in Plano, Texas and Detroit, Michigan – claiming a first for the US. The trials were carried out in association with Nokia and utilised spectrum in the 3700MHz–3980MHz range. Paritosh Rai, who oversees AT&T’s 5G Project Management Office, commented: ‘Being the first to make a call on mmWave was an important event in 5G development in 2018 … Working on these C-band field test calls gave us a feeling of, “Let’s make history again!”’
The telco acquired 80MHz of C-band spectrum during the most recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction, and the first batch of licences will officially become available later this year. The press release notes: ‘Telling our field teams to wait that long before taking this new spectrum out for an approved test drive would be like telling a child to wait until summer to play with their Christmas presents.’ Going forward, AT&T expects to cover 200 million people with C-band 5G spectrum by the end of 2023.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, AT&T paid a total of USD23.407 billion for 1,621 concessions in the recent FCC Auction 107 spectrum sale. Nokia was awarded a five-year rollout contract in March, and the C-band frequencies will be used to bolster AT&T’s existing 850MHz 5G network rollout.