AT&T on 5G
AT&T (T) remains focused on its 5G (fifth-generation) journey. AT&T anticipates that the future of 5G technology will provide a drastic improvement in data speeds. It’s also expected to boost capacity and latency with respect to the recent 4G (fourth-generation) LTE (long-term evolution) path.
5G technology should integrate AT&T’s spectrum into bigger blocks and tap into the benefits of its new antenna technology.
During the recent JPMorgan Chase Tech, Media and Telecom Conference on May 23, 2017, Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s CEO, was asked about AT&T’s plans regarding 5G technology. Stephenson said that AT&T is set to gain 400 MHz (megahertz) of nationwide millimeter wave spectrum from its FiberTower deal. AT&T is planning to use this spectrum to deploy its 5G network, supported by its dense fiber and cell-site network.
AT&T expects to strengthen its dense fiber cell grid by penetrating other cities in the United States in which it currently doesn’t have a dense footprint. It visualizes itself as being a pioneer of 5G technology by the end of 2018–2019. It anticipates being able to offer 1 GB (gigabyte) of broadband services to households, as well as eventually in futurist applications such as the IoT (Internet of Things), smart cities, autonomous cars, and virtual reality.
AT&T is an aggressive player in the 5G market
AT&T has been an aggressive player in the 5G market. In the past, AT&T has attempted to create a spectrum advantage by outbidding its rivals.
In early 2015, AT&T was the highest bidder at the AWS-3 spectrum auction, purchasing spectrum worth $18.2 billion. As we can see in the chart above, Verizon (VZ) also participated with a winning bid of $10.4 billion, and T-Mobile (TMUS) participated with a winning bid of $1.8 billion.