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AT&T (T) to Launch Standard-Based Mobile 5G Services in 2018


AT&T Inc T is planning to offer standards-based mobile 5G services to consumers in various U.S. markets by late 2018. The telecom service provider claims to be the first company in the United States to come up with 5G services in 2018, beating other players — Verizon Communications Inc VZ, Sprint Corp S and T-Mobile US Inc TMUS in the race for 5G.

The news followed the completion of the first implementable 5G New radio (NR) specification of 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). This basically supports a ‘non-standalone’ 5G standard that uses LTE to control 5G data connections. Since AT&T supports non-standalone and standalone options for the 5G standard, the new timeline will accelerate availability of hardware.

Notably, completion of the first 5G NR standard has set the stage for the global mobile industry to start full-scale development of 5G NR for large-scale trials and commercial deployments in 2019.

AT&T’s Toil on 5G

AT&T has been working hard since 2017 and laying the foundation for mobile 5G network. The company has completed network upgradation in 23 major cities.

In January 2017, AT&T joined Ericsson and Qualcomm to test the initial 3GPP 5G NR specification in the second half of 2017. The trio planned to deploy 28GHz and 39GHz spectrum bands, using Qualcomm’s prototype devices and Ericsson’s base station solutions. In December 2016, AT&T already initiated next-gen 5G technology trials in partnership with Ericsson using the millimeter wavelength technology in Austin, TX.

In August 2017, AT&T deployed 5G technology trials in three new cities — Waco, TX; Kalamazoo, MI; and South Bend, IN. In fact, the company enabled participants access to faster broadband services over a 5G internet connection and watch live TV via AT&T’s DirecTV Now. Colleges, hospitals, churches, restaurants and other small businesses are likely to be included as participants in AT&T’s new trial.

On Dec 18, AT&T initiated its largest 5G fixed wireless trial in Waco, TX, partnering with the home and lifestyle brand Magnolia. The company claims it to be the largest trial in terms of mobile traffic.

In 2017, AT&T succeeded in providing high-speed internet access to over 440,000 locations across 18 states in mostly rural areas through technologies like Fixed Wireless Internet, as part of the FCC Connect America Fund (CAF). Further, the company targets to reach over 660,000 total locations by this year and 1.1 million locations by the end of 2020 in those 18 states.

While maintaining leadership in the development and implementation of Fixed Wireless Internet, the telco is gearing up to test 5G technology with businesses of all sizes across industries to transform operations and create more entertaining experiences for customers.


5G marks a revolution in the field of communications and technology. It is the next phase of mobile telecommunication standards. The next-gen 5G network will provide 50 times the throughput of the currently available standard 4G LTE network. Further, 5G technology is designed to be more power efficient than any other available standard wireless. Therefore, 5G-enabled mobile devices are likely to last longer than their 3G or 4G counterparts. Moreover, superfast 5G mobile networks will be of utmost importance for the management of the exponential growth in Internet-connected devices, popularly known as Internet of Things (IoT).

According to a research by Ovum, global 5G subscriptions are projected to reach 24 million by 2021, with the Asia-Pacific region having a 40% share and Europe accounting for 10%.

Per reports from SNS Research, the next-generation 5G network is expected to account for more than 40% of wireless or mobile network infrastructure spending by the end of 2025. By 2020, 5G networks will account for nearly 5% of the entire investment on wireless network infrastructure. The spending will be allocated to 5G NR (New Radio), NextGen (Next Generation) core and transport (fronthaul/backhaul) networking infrastructure, through 2020-2025.

With the U.S. telecom industry continuously evolving, companies are engaging in intense competition.

Zacks Rank & Price Performance

AT&T carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

AT&T portrays a disappointing price performance. In the past three months, shares of AT&T have declined 4.7% compared with the industry’s loss of 1.3%.

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