The potential benefits of 5G have been discussed by leaders in industries ranging from public safety to education, but the transportation industry has been perhaps the most vocal. Telefonica has built a futuristic “smart city” utilizing 5G networks to power autonomous minibuses that are secure, reliable, and safe, showing off the real-world benefits 5G can have for autonomous vehicles. As Mercedes Fernández, head of innovation at Telefonica España, explained, “5G provides critical latency and extremely high reliability, playing a key role in security, information criticality and decision making times.”
T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed to merge, but they still need approval from regulatory agencies before they can move forward. With all of the current focus on 5G – in particular the race against countries like China to be the first in 5G – T-Mobile and Sprint leaders are emphasizing the benefit that their merger could have on 5G development in an effort to encourage approval. “It’s the early innovation cycle of 5G,” T-Mobile chief executive John Legere said after the deal was announced. “We are behind China. This is not something we can allow.”
At the Brooklyn 5G Summit in New York today, FCC deputy chief of technology Michael Ha said that he expects high-band frequency bands to be available for auction in 2019. This is critical for 5G operators as this previously-unavailable spectrum is considered vital for the high speeds 5G will provide.
Ha confirmed that the 28GHz and 24GHz auctions are expected first, with 39GHz also on the list for 2019.
Verizon announced today in their first-quarter earnings call that it has started deploying commercial nodes in three markets in the US in support of their planned launch of their fixed 5G network later this year. “We are quickly approaching the launch date of our residential broadband service,” said Verizon CFO Matt Ellis. Sacramento is the only market Verizon has named so far; the other two markets won’t be announced until closer to the launch.
As for their mobile 5G network, rollout is further out and according to Ellis will be “very much heavily focused on urban areas.”
T-Mobile has announced a new initiative to bring 5G to military bases and the surrounding areas, committing 500 million dollars to the effort this year alone. T-Mobile is also doubling down on its program to hire vets as they will hire another 10k veterans and military spouses in the next 5 years.
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Huawei made a splash at their Global Analyst Summit in Shenzhen this week, showing off their plans for 5G. Counterpoint Analyst Neil Shah tweeted throughout the event, sharing the announcements along with his commentary. Perhaps the most exciting announcement was that Huawei will be launching a 5G smartphone in the second half of 2019 running its own 5G chip.
The newly signed bill will provide funding for 5G small cell deployments where traditional cell towers are not an option. The bill also leaves cities in charge of their roadways and land for deployment of 5G technology leading to additional income. The new bill lays out the infrastructure to ensure the upcoming 5G deployments benefit Illinois businesses where possible.
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AT&T has recently started testing 5G networks in the US and the results are better than expected. While these tests are not indicative of real-world performance, as these are ideal scenarios, it does prove the technology works as intended.
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AT&T has been working with small businesses in three US cities over the past year to trial their 5G network (which they plan to deploy in 12 cities by the end of the year), and today they released the results of some of their testing:
- In Waco, Texas, AT&T 5G speeds were 1.2Gbps from 500 feet over a 400MHz channel, with 9-12 millisecond latency.
- In Kalamazoo, Michigan, they saw 1Gbps speeds at 900 feet (275 meters) in “line of sight” conditions.
- From their South Bend, Indiana, tests, no specific speeds were reported, but reported “gigabit wireless speeds” in line of sight and “some nonline of sight” conditions.
Other interesting notes from the release were that there appeared to be no negative impact from rain or snow, and large numbers of users were connected during the tests. They also reported that signals can penetrate “significant foliage, glass and even walls” even better than they had expected.
AT&T’s tests are definitely very promising, and we can’t wait to see the network deployed to the public!
With original expectations surpassed in the previous 5G spectrum auction in the UK, it would appear that carriers are pushing towards deploying the technology. They are… but they are lagging behind the rest of the world.
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