Everybody could use faster mobile speeds. Whether you stream tons of hi-fidelity music, game online, download huge files, or just wish that your Facebook page could load in the snap of a finger, the demand for 5G in the consumer market is very real. The standard will also be used for entirely new applications with high data throughput, like new uses for the cloud and online VR apps. With all of this excitement surrounding the work on 5G, just about everybody involved is working full-steam to get things rolling. Carriers are testing 5G network equipment that brings down speeds well above the gigabit mark, despite the fact that an official standard from the 3rd Generation Partnership Project has yet to surface. At least one carrier figurehead has decided to go ahead and say what everybody is thinking, and that’s Tom Keathley, AT&T’s senior VR of network architecture and design.
Keathley’s stance makes sense when considering the fact that AT&T’s 5G testing recently managed to hit 14 gigabits per second for a single user in a lab setting. According to an announcement made back in June, the 3GPP will be handing down the first release candidate for the official 5G standard definition by June of 2018. Keathley, however, wants to have the standard available by the end of 2017. Keathley’s remark was made up on stage at the CTIA Super Mobility show, essentially presenting AT&T’s stance to the entire wireless industry.
AT&T has announced their intention to work with a large number of different elements within the industry worldwide to help speed up 5G network deployment once the standard is developed and work can officially begin. Big names like China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Qualcomm, Samsung, Ericsson, and Vodafone are in on AT&T’s efforts. Verizon, meanwhile, has notably gone rogue, developing their own preliminary standard and releasing it publicly on their forums. While it will doubtlessly be replaced by the official standard once it’s been defined, Verizon’s creation is a step toward being able to start working on a 5G network rollout, albeit a step in a strange direction. Verizon’s VP of network technology, Adam Koeppe, did say that he hopes to see Verizon’s standard aid in 3GPP’s work toward creating an official, industry-wide 5G standard.