5G Network and Smartphone Update: AT&T Verizon and Qualcomm

AT&T is sticking to its “end of the year” 5G commercial deployment schedule, but no smartphones or tablets will be available at that time.  AT&T plans to have 5G available in parts of 12 markets up by the end of the year.  AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan. said AT&T’s 5G is expected to move into 19 cities (so far) in 2019.    AT&T has told Light Reading that it has 5G sites live in Dallas and Waco, Texas now. But the operator has not yet launched its commercial 5G service.

The only confirmed 5G device announced for AT&T’s mobile 5G network is the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot, which AT&T calls a “puck.”

Photo: AT&T
Photo: Natt Garun / The Verge

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“We believe the early 5G opportunities are going to be in enterprise,” Donovan said.  He noted that AT&T’s work with Samsung Corp. on“robotic manufacturing” and augmented reality with Magic Leap Inc. will be future 5G enterprise offerings.  5G smartphones will be available in 2019, according to Donovan.

According to The Verge, Verizon will technically have a phone when it launches its mobile 5G offering in early 2019. If you buy the existing, Verizon-exclusive Moto Z3 which is advertised as “5G ready.” Verizon says its first 5G device will be a magnetic, modular 5G Moto Mod attachment you can snap onto that phone to add speedy 5G NR (3GPP Release 15) connectivity.

AT&T and Verizon both say they’re exclusively rolling out millimeter wave (mmWave) radios, which inherently provide far more bandwidth and capacity than today’s networks. But at 39GHz and 28GHz, those millimeter wave signals also don’t travel as far or penetrate buildings as easily as conventional cellular. That means you’ll probably drop down to LTE speeds when you transition indoors, and in order to cover the same area as today’s LTE cell towers, carriers will need to provide many more smaller cell sites. AT&T says it’s focusing on outdoor cells first, but is also looking at indoor ones for public venues like stadiums and concert halls.

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Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon expects the first real wave of 5G smartphones to arrive in Q2 2019 at the earliest.   ”We are working, so as early as the second quarter of 2019, you’ll have smartphones being launched across the United States, across Europe, across South Korea, Australia. Some early in the quarter, some later in the quarter… they’re all going to be Android flagship devices,” says Amon. “You go to CES [in January], you’ll start to see a lot of phone announcements; you go to MWC [in February], you’ll see a lot of actual phone launches.”

Author’s Note:  Don’t expect a 5G smartphone from Apple till 2020 at the earliest.  The company is closely tracking the REAL 5G standard- ITU-R IMT 2020 which won’t be completed till year end 2020.  Companion IMT 2020 standards from ITU-T won’t be finalized till 2021 or later.

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“We need to build a crescendo,” says Amon. “You’re not going to change your phone unless the battery life is higher, the form factor is attractive, and you need companies that can actually deliver the performance,” he added.

“Today you stream music everywhere. You don’t download music anymore; even if you have low coverage, you have enough quality to stream music. 5G will do that for video,” Amon says, before moving on to fancier, further-out predictions like unlimited storage and on-demand processing power from the cloud that can, he imagines, virtually cram the power of a Magic Leap-like augmented reality headset into a normal pair of glasses.”

The Verge says that Qualcomm will announce a new Snapdragon processor at its  third annual Snapdragon Technology Summit next week in Maui.  It is targeted at 5G NR smartphones.   A “Snapdragon 1000” processor for a new wave of always-connected Windows laptops will also be introduced at the summit.

 

 

2 thoughts on “5G Network and Smartphone Update: AT&T Verizon and Qualcomm

  1. The first ‘real world’ 5G test was a dud-AT&T and Verizon were supposed to show real 5G, but the speed is missing

    journalists aren’t being allowed to try 5G in any meaningful way. They can’t touch working versions of the Samsung phone, or the AT&T hotspot, or the Verizon hotspot, or run an actual speed test on Motorola’s 5G modded phone. There are demos, like a VR headset plugged into a computer connected to Wi-Fi that’s also technically 5G, but we can’t peer behind the curtain to verify that 5G is actually working.

    Why the cloak and dagger? It’s because the networks aren’t anywhere near as fast as 5G is supposed to be.
    Netgear, which is providing AT&T’s first 5G mobile hotspot, suggested you might not see those gigabit-plus speeds everywhere at launch. “It varies market to market — some markets they may have a couple hundred megabits of bandwidth in the 39 GHz, others can go all the way up to 5Gbps,” says Verizon’s Chris Emmons.

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/4/18125854/verizon-att-5g-speed-test-slow-maui-qualcomm-snapdragon-summit

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