American carrier AT&T has announced that it will roll out its mobile 5G service in a dozen locations across the United States by the end of the year. The carrier identified parts of the cities of Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco as the first three locations that will receive mobile 5G networks. In addition to them, the company will also roll out the cellular technology to nine more locations in the U.S. which it's expected to name in the coming months. The company further noted that it will first deploy the mobile 5G technology on the mmWave spectrum. The mmWave spectrum allows the carrier to transmit data at increased speeds, although AT&T also stated the new technology will be commercialized in other bands from its spectrum portfolio in the future.
The carrier emphasized that it had already rolled out network technologies and base station equipment that will assist it in the deployment of 5G. Among the technologies that the carrier is currently deploying is a software-defined networking solution which allows a network to use software to perform functions previously conducted by hardware switches and other network components. The company started deploying the technology several years ago, and by the end of 2017, it had already virtualized 55-percent of its infrastructure. The firm aims to virtualize 75-percent of its network by 2020. The technology, AT&T claims, will allow it to deploy new network applications, including 5G, in a much faster manner. The carrier also aims to reduce the latency of its offerings by implementing a new edge computing model which places the processing of data closer to the subscribers. This solution can be implemented by deploying computing equipment comprised of graphics cards or other general-purpose computers near base stations or small cells.
The carrier also mentioned that it will open a new laboratory in Austin, Texas, where it intends to further test 5G devices and network equipment by simulating a broad range of real-world scenarios. The company will still be using its proprietary Advanced 5G NR Testbed System and an outdoor 5G testbed in order to experiment with the next generation of wireless networks and their applications going forward.