AT&T on Wednesday announced plans to begin launching 5G mobile wireless service in 12 cities by the end of 2018. The cellular industry agreed on the specs for the next-generation wireless standard in December.
By launching in 12 U.S. markets by year’s end, AT&T hopes to be the first major network to boast 5G connectivity options for consumers. The nation’s second-largest wireless carrier by subscribers failed to disclose which cities will get access to mobile 5G.
AT&T claims it was one of the “key drivers” for acceleration of the 5G standard, key components of which were adopted by 3GPP, the international wireless standards body, last month. Device and parts manufacturers can now begin developing hardware to take advantage of the new specification, AT&T said.
No word on when Apple might build 5G capabilities into its devices, but the Cupertino firm is known as a company that allows others to cut themselves on the bleeding edge, waiting until bugs are shaken out of a new technology before adopting it for their devices.
However, Apple did file an application with the Federal Communications Commission in May to begin 5G connectivity testing. A report in November claimed Apple is working with Intel on the tech.
“5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations. “We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more.”
AT&T will also continue to rollout its “5G Evolution” backbone beyond the 23 markets that currently have access to the service. 5G Evolution uses a mix of existing 4G technology to achieve faster speeds, but doesn’t meet the 3GPP’s 5G specifications.