AT&T expanding its gigabit LTE footprint ahead of 5G rollout

5G Evolution service live in 141 markets

AT&T is working to offer commercial, mobile 5G service in up to a dozen markets by year-end. To lay the groundwork for that launch, the carrier continues to expand its gigabit LTE footprint, which uses 4X4 MIMO, 256 QAM, and aggregation of licensed and unlicensed carriers to provide theoretical throughput of 400 Mbps.

AT&T announced this week its 5G Evolution service is now live in parts of 141 U.S. markets. The 2018 goal is light up the evolutionary service in 500 markets by the end of the year.

“We’re building a 5G network that will fundamentally change the way the world lives and works,” Melissa Arnoldi, president of Technology & Operations, said in a statement. “5G will provide a wireless experience that is faster, more responsive and more secure for our customers.”

About that marketing term–AT&T has taken some flack from its 5G Evolution branding. And while carriers taking shots at one another–for examples please visit T-Mobile US CEO John Legere’s Twitter page–is nothing new, you could make the case that it isn’t necessarily warranted in this case. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution toward ever faster, more responsive cellular connectivity.

Andre Fuetsch, AT&T chief technology officer, made the case for the branding in a recent blog post.  He said the expansion of the new service provides “a great opportunity to set the record straight on what this technology is and how exactly it prepares us to be the first to mobile 5G.”

Fuetsch wrote the combination 4X4 MIMO, 256 QAM, carrier aggregation and Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) “serve as the runway…by boosting the existing LTE network and priming it for the future of connectivity…Deploying 5G is like building a home – you start with the foundation. It needs to be strong and sturdy. After all, it supports everything you are constructing on top.”

Sherif Hanna, director of product marketing at Qualcomm Technologies, gave a hot take on his Twitter account, which is well worth following, by the way.

Building on tests of fixed wireless using its millimeter wave spectrum, AT&T plans to launch mobile 5G in Atlanta, Dallas and Waco, Texas, along with an additional nine as-yet unidentified markets.

 

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