AT&T Planning To Conduct 5G Video Trial with DirecTV Now in Austin, Texas
AT&T has announced its plans to launch a trial in Austin, the capital of the state of Texas, starting in the first six months of this year. This planned trial will have customers based in the city stream DirecTV Now video content by way of a fixed wireless 5G network set up by the major US wireless carrier.
Additionally, the second biggest mobile operator in the United States is also looking to conduct testing on other next generation entertainment packages over fixed 5G networks. The objective here is to continue to explore ways in which it can deliver 5G connections to consumers, most particularly in the area of determining how well fixed wireless millimeter wave (mmWave) tech can carry voluminous video content traffic.
The Austin trial is only part of the 5G evolution plans that AT&T has made for this year and in the near future. Apart from testing 5G video, the wireless carrier will also be busy conducting tests that involve 5G New Radio (NR), and it will be teaming up with other tech giants like Ericsson and Qualcomm in preparing the trials for fixed and mobile, some time within the third or fourth quarter of 2017.
Many industry watchers are pointing out the significance of AT&T’s 5G video trials in Austin, Texas. For one, they would mark the first time that tests have been conducted in exploring technology that will be complying with the 5G NR spec currently being finalized by 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project). AT&T’s trials are said to test solutions in the 28 GigaHertz and the 39 GigaHertz bands. It bears noting that industry leader Verizon Wireless had revealed that it had finished its 5G radio spec some time in summer of last year. Even though the Big Red was the first to pull off this feat, what it was testing is markedly different from that which its rival AT&T is testing.
AT&T is claiming that its tests will make full use of device and base station prototype solutions provided by Qualcomm and Ericsson, respectively. Together with spectrum provided by the wireless carrier itself, AT&T and its partners will try to simulate real world scenarios across a set of use cases and roll out scenarios. Tests are useful tools for gaining knowledge and achieving calibration, but ultimately, they work best when conducted according to certain standards. This is why AT&T is aiming to pattern its testing parameters closely with the first 3GPP NR spec that is expected to be included in Release 15 from 3GPP.