AT&T and Nokia successfully streamed DirecTV Now content via a fixed wireless 5G connection at 39 GHz, the companies reported Wednesday.
According to Nokia, the test was conducted at AT&T Labs’ Middletown, N.J. facility and utilized Nokia’s AirScale radio access platform to deliver 5G connectivity in the 39 GHz band. The company said the test demonstrates the viability of the 39 GHz band for next-generation services. The band, the companies said, offers significantly more bandwidth than the 28 GHz band, which is also under consideration for 5G services.
"With this trial, we're doing something that no other operator has done - regionally or globally,” Tom Keathley, AT&T’s senior vice president of Wireless Network Architecture and Design, said. “We expect 39 GHz to be an important 5G band in the United States, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with Nokia to further advance 5G technology in this band. The work coming out of AT&T Labs will provide valuable contributions to future 5G standards, and allow us to pave the way for delivering significantly faster speeds and a better overall network experience for our customers across the U.S."
So far, an AT&T spokesman said the carrier has conducted 5G lab trials in Middletown, Austin, Texas, San Ramon, Calif., and Atlanta, Ga., that have reached speeds of 14 Gbps. Back in January at CES, AT&T announced plans to run a 5G video trial with DirecTV Now in Austin in the first half of 2017. That trial will allow residential customers to stream the video service over a fixed wireless 5G connection. The carrier has not yet announced a start date for those trials.
The carrier also said in January it will be conducting additional fixed and mobile 5G trials in the second half of the year in partnership with Qualcomm and Ericsson. Those trials will be based on the 5G New Radio specification under development by the 3GPP standards body, and will utilize millimeter wave spectrum in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands.
Ericsson North America Head Ricky Corker said the company is pleased to be playing such a large role in AT&T’s march to 5G.
“AT&T has laid out its path to 5G, and we're excited to help them execute on it,” Corker commented. “We continue leveraging our innovations to make 5G a commercial reality.”
AT&T’s announcement Wednesday came the same day rival Verizon announced it is launching 5G customer trials in 11 cities in the first half of 2017, including launches with Samsung in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington DC in April, and another in Michigan later in the second quarter. More on that can be found here.