AT&T wants to demonstrate 5G using the 28 GHz band when it hosts its SHAPE conference June 2-3 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California.
The operator applied with the FCC for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to demonstrate the functionality, features and capabilities of 5G using experimental equipment. No specific vendors were listed on the application.
The requested timeframe is from May 15 to June 15.
If approved, the demo will involve communications between up to three fixed base stations and up to six user equipment (UE) units placed within 100 meters of the base station antennas. The base station and the UE antennas will be placed indoors at a height of less than four meters above the floor in a room or open space inside a building or on the ground in front of a building within the Warner Bros. Studios perimeters in Burbank.
The base station will have connectivity to an internal server providing content over the 5G air interface for the purposes of this demonstration. AT&T said the UEs can provide services to various devices, such as smartphones, through Wi-Fi access points connected to the UEs via Ethernet cable.
AT&T has promised to launch a standards-based mobile 5G service in a dozen cities in the United States before the end of this year. Company executives have said the operator will offer a mobile “puck” device in time for the launch. 5G smartphones are not expected to hit the market until 2019.
Gordon Mansfield, vice president of RAN & Device Design at AT&T, told FierceWirelessTech last month that AT&T's first 5G deployment will use the 39 GHz spectrum that it recently closed on, but that’s not where it stops. AT&T’s spectrum holdings are pretty broad, and it will fairly quickly evolve to other bands.
Of course, rival Verizon has promised to launch a fixed 5G service in three to five cities this year and expects to launch a mobile 5G service soon thereafter. However, Verizon’s CEO recently admitted that the company would eventually have to replace its proprietary V5GTF 5G equipment with 5G equipment that adheres to the 3GPP’s 5G standard after it launches its initial fixed wireless markets.
AT&T has been a stickler about deploying gear that meets with the 3GPP-approved standards from the get-go as opposed to prestandard equipment, so it’s not expected to have to do the same kind of retrofit.
Sprint has said it will launch mobile 5G services on its 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings on a nationwide basis in the first half of 2019, while T-Mobile plans on conducting a nationwide mobile 5G launch starting in 2019 and finishing in 2020.