AT&T announced on Tuesday three cities to get its so called “5G” mobile network this year. The three cities are: Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; and Waco, Texas. The U.S. mega carrier plans on deploying its version of “5G” over mmWave in a total of 12 cities by the end of 2018, as we previously reported. The remaining cities will be announced at a later date.
Several carriers have been trialing various versions of non standardized 5G networks for some time. AT&T says this rollout will be based on the 3GPP release 15 New Radio specification (which will not by itself be presented as a contribution to ITU-R WP5D for IMT 2020 radio aspects- see Closing Comment below).
This AT&T version of “5G” is said to offer theoretical peak speeds of several gigabits a second at much lower latency than existing 4G-LTE wireless networks. The combination of faster speeds and lower latency is thought to help speed adoption of real time control of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and electric utilities that require a persistent Internet connection.
“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 at AT&T.
The AT&T “5G” rollout is ahead of availability of consumer “5G” devices. Both device makers and wireless carriers need to closely time launching “5G” devices and networks so the return on investment is maximized. If one launches significantly early or late, the other will suffer.
There’s a good chance major hardware makers will announced some of the first “5G” devices next week at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain. Let’s hope there’s not a proliferation of “5G” device versions- one for each wireless carrier!
From the previously referenced AT&T press release:
We believe 5G and SDN go hand in hand. A virtualized and software-defined network lets you develop, deploy, and protect new network applications faster than with a hardware-based model.
We’re on the most aggressive network virtualization path that we know of in our industry. We plan to virtualize 75% of our network by 2020. Our goal in 2017 was 55%, and we hit that mark.
The experience we’ve gained by leading the industry transformation to network virtualization and software control will help our customers to get the most out of 5G.
Ultimately, we expect to reach theoretical peak speeds of multiple gigabits per second on devices through mobile 5G. While speed is important, we also expect to see much lower latency rates. With higher speeds and lower latency rates, our mobile 5G network will eventually unlock a number of new, exciting experiences for our customers.
For these experiences to become reality, you need mobile 5G powered by SDN and edge computing. We’re making the cloud smarter, faster and local.
Let’s carefully examine this quote from the press release:
“This is standards-based, mobile 5G we’re talking about. AT&T is the only U.S. carrier that’s announced plans to deliver this ground-breaking technology to its customers in 2018.”
AT&T will likely be the first U.S. carrier to deploy mobile “5G” based on millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum and technology. Sprint’s rollout is expected in 2019, T-Mobile only anticipates national mobile coverage by 2020, and Verizon has focused on fixed access “5G” for its early deployments (also not standardized).
However, AT&T’s mobile “5G” initial deployment is NOT close to being “standards-based mobile 5G,” as the company claims. That’s because the only true 5G standards will be the ITU-R WP5D IMT 2020 recommendations, which won’t be completed till the end of 2020 (as we’ve pointed out countless times). ITU-R won’t even start their detailed Radio Interface Technology (RIT) evaluation process till 2019! Further, 3GPP won’t even submit the initial templates for their proposed IMT 2020 RIT till the January 30 to February 7, 2019 ITU-R WP 5D meeting with their final WP 5D submission in July, 2019.
From the 3GPP website:
The final and fully comprehensive 3GPP IMT-2020 submission (encompassing both Release 15 and Release 16) is planned for July 2019 (to be presented at the July 9-17, 2019 ITU-R WP 5D meeting).
To help the Evaluation Groups in their work, 3GPP is currently planning a workshop to present the 5G solutions to interested external bodies – specifically the Evaluation Groups – to allow a better understanding of the 3GPP technologies for 5G. More news will follow soon – on the date and place of the 3GPP Workshop.
AT&T should know better than to call it’s 2018 (3GPP New Radio based/mmWave spectrum) wireless roll-outs “standards-based mobile 5G.” That’s because Stephen Blust (firstname.lastname@example.org) of AT&T chairs the ITU-R WP5D standards committee! AT&T also sends other delegates to WP 5D meetings, so the company is totally on top of the real 5G/IMT 2020 standards effort which we’ve shared with IEEE techblog readers for several years now.
Also note that neither ITU-R or ITU-T have any serious standards project(s) underway for SDN or network virtualization or NFV aspects of IMT 2020 (standardized 5G). Those are considered out of scope for ITU. That leaves it up to Open Source Consortium(s) to develop those related specifications.
From the February 2018 ITU-R WP 5D Meeting in Seoul, Korea:
Addendum 1. High-level scopes for Working Party 5D working and Ad hoc Groups:
|WG GENERAL ASPECTS||– To develop deliverables on services, forecasts, and also convergence of services of fixed and mobile networks which take account the needs of end users, and the demand for IMT capabilities and supported services. This includes aspects regarding the continued deployment of IMT, other general topics of IMT and overall objectives for the long-term development of IMT. To update the relevant IMT Recommendations/Reports.
– To ensure that the requirements and needs of the developing countries are reflected in the work and deliverables of WP 5D in the development of IMT. This includes coordination of work with ITU-D Sector on deployments of IMT systems and transition to IMT system.
|WG TECHNOLOGY ASPECTS||– To provide the technology related aspects of IMT through development of Recommendations and Reports. To update the relevant IMT‑2000 and IMT-Advanced Recommendations. To work on key elements of IMT technologies including requirements, evaluation, and evolution. To develop liaison with external research and standardization forums, and to coordinate the external and internal activities related to the IMT-2020 process.
– To manage the research topics website and its findings.
|WG SPECTRUM ASPECTS||– To undertake co-existence studies, develop spectrum plans, and channel/frequency arrangements for IMT. This includes spectrum sharing between IMT and other radio services/systems coordinating as appropriate with other Working Parties in ITU-R.||A. JAMIESON
|AD HOC WORKPLAN||– To coordinate the work of WP 5D to facilitate efficient and timely progress of work items.||H. OHLSEN
Addendum 2. Agreed overall deliverables/workplan of ITU-R WP 5D:
The following table provides the schedule of when approval of the planned major deliverables will be achieved following the procedures of WP 5D.
|June 2018||Mexico WP 5D #30||• Finalize CPM text on WRC-19 agenda item 9.1, Issue 9.1.8 (MTC)
• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.EXPERIENCES]
• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT. MTC]
• Further update/Finalize draft new Report/Recommendation ITU-R
• Finalize draft CPM text on WRC-19 agenda item 9.1, Issue 9.1.1, and send input to WP 4C
• Finalize draft CPM text on WRC-19 agenda item 9.1, Issue 9.1.2, and send input to WP 4A
|October 2018||[Japan] WP 5D #31||• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.MS/MSS.2GHz]
• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.1 452-1 492MHz]
• Finalize draft new Report/Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT.3300 MHz RLS]
• Finalize draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[MT.3300 MHz FSS]
• Finalize draft new Report/Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT.COEXISTENCE.AMS]
• Finalize draft revision of Report ITU-R M.2373
• Finalize revision of Recommendation ITU-R M.1036
• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.BY.INDUSTRIES]
• Finalize revision of Recommendation ITU-R M.1457
|February 2019||Geneva WP 5D #31’bis’|
|July 2019||[Geneva] WP 5D #32||• Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/YYY Input Submissions Summary
• Finalize revision of Recommendation M.2012
• Finalize draft new Report M.[IMT.AAS]
• Finalize Addendum 4 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020
|December 2019||[Geneva] WP 5D #33|
|February 2020||[TBD] WP 5D #34||• Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/ZZZ Evaluation Reports Summary
• Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/VVV Process and use of GCS
• Finalize Addendum 5 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020
|June 2020||[TBD] WP 5D #35||• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.OUTCOME]
• Finalize Addendum 6 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020
|October 2020||[TBD] WP 5D #36||• Finalize draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT‑2020.SPECS]
• Finalize Addendum 7 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020