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AT&T starts testing 5G wireless with Intel in Austin

Don't get too excited; it'll be a long time before 5G rolls out to normal humans.
Nathan Ingraham
December 5, 2016
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Verizon may have beat AT&T to the punch, but no matter -- the second-biggest US carrier has started testing 5G wireless technology that promises to bring gigabit bandwidth to our mobile devices in the coming years. In a blog post, AT&T says that it is taking the 5G bandwidth tests it was making in labs out into the field, with Intel and Ericsson serving as partners in this venture. Like Verizon, AT&T is using millimeter wave technology; in this case, the 5G technology is working inside of one of Intel's Austin offices.

AT&T appears to be right on schedule -- earlier this year, the carrier said that it was planning to run these Austin test by the end of the year. Specifically, AT&T says it is interested in how this new network will stand up to streaming 4K video, but it'll also be testing a wide variety of office use cases including VPN, VoIP, "unified communications applications" and good old internet access. But 4K video is of particular interest, given how important video is to the mobile landscape.

It's worth noting that this test does not mean we're going to see 5G wireless technology any time soon. The standard hasn't been decided yet, which means we might get a repeat of the nonsense back-and-forth over what exactly "4G" means that we lived through in 2010 and 2011. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?

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