In late 2017, 3GPP, the organization that governs cellular standards, signed on the first specification for the 5G network.
Later this year, people will be able to get 5G networks on their cell phones if they live in three cities in the United States. These cities will be the first to use the network before everyone else. Others will probably have to wait until 2019.
AT&T will be launching 5G in 12 markets initially by the end of 2018. The first three markets that will receive the 5G network in the United States are Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco, Texas. According to a spokesperson for the company, more cities are going to be announced throughout the year.
It also announced that its 5G network will operate according to the 3GPP standards, and run on the mmWave spectrum. This new network is said to have theoretical peaks speeds of several gigabits a second and at a lower latency than 4G networks.
"After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards, conducting multi-city trials, and literally transforming our network for the future, we're planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G - and do it much sooner than most people thought possible," said Igal Elbaz, SVP of Wireless Network Architecture and Design for AT&T.
However, there is still a problem of unavailability of 5G devices at the moment. Network standards were first adopted by 3GPP in December of 2017. AT&T hopes that the timing will coincide with 5G networks being in place by the time the 5G devices become available.
Experts do suggest that the first 5G-capable devices that will be available will be hotspots instead of the smartphones. Other mobile carriers in the United States have promised to have 5G networks up and running by the end of 2018 or early 2019.
AT&T is the first to announce concrete plans on the 5G front.
Standards for 5G networks were agreed upon in late 2017. Companies also concurred that the network will cover a wide range of the spectrum. It will range from 600 and 700 MHz bands to the millimeter wave portion of the spectrum at 50 GHz.
5G would be the next generation in cellular networking and typically, a new generation of cellular networking makes a leap forward every 10 years, which update the capabilities of the networks. This new jump will increase speeds for cellular networks.