Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the White House 5G Summit. The event was focused on discussing issues such as 5G deployment, spectrum and standards that will enable the U.S. to win the race on 5G. Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, discussed figures released by CTIA and Accenture estimating that 5G is poised to add $500 billion to the nation’s GDP and 3 million new jobs. Michael Kratsios, the Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, also discussed the economic benefits from innovation on top of the 5G infrastructure. The U.S. will continue to lead on 5G, if it sets the right policies.
The U.S. is Ahead in the Race to 5G
Every U.S. carrier has already conducted trials and begun deployments in initial cities. All four carriers have announced plans to provide 5G services between late 2018 and mid-2019, and according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, nearly half of the mobile subscriptions in North America will be 5G by 2023. For its part, AT&T will launch mobile 5G in 2018. We’ll be the first company to introduce mobile 5G service based on industry standards. We plan to introduce mobile 5G in parts of 12 cities this year – with seven additional cities lined up for early 2019.
From these 19 cities, we’ll continue to expand and begin to unlock new experiences like augmented realities, virtual presence, driverless cars, telemedicine and connected homes. While 4G introduced the world to the gig economy, mobile 5G will jumpstart the next wave of unforeseen innovation. And, we will lead the pack in making the U.S. the global leader in 5G.
The U.S. Wireless Market is the Most Competitive in the World
AT&T has invested more in the U.S. than any other public company over the past 5 years to deliver innovative technology. A sensible regulatory environment helps us make investments where they’re needed so we can bring consumers the best in connectivity, first. It’s why we push for smart policies that make more spectrum available. It’s why we advocate to remove barriers to deploy the estimated 300,000 small cells that will be needed in just the next 3-4 years to support the evolution to 5G.
Our Progress in Deploying 5G
We started conducting 5G field trials in 2016. We’re running tests with residential customers, small and large businesses, and high-traffic retail locations. We have 5G lab work operating in four major cities as we march toward full commercial deployment. We’ve reached speeds up to 14 Gbps in lab trials and have successfully tested a connection that surpasses any current LTE network technology. Earlier this month, we made the world’s first wireless 5G data transfer over millimeter wave (mmWave) using standards-based, production equipment with a mobile form factor device.
AT&T is building on our 5G foundation by launching our 5G Evolution technology. It allows us to enable faster speeds now, and upgrade to 5G when it’s ready. It’s now live in more than 200 markets, reaching at least 400+ markets this year. These are locations where we’ve deployed technologies that enable peak theoretical speeds for capable devices of up to 400 megabits per second. We have also made LTE-LAA available today in parts of 15 markets. With LTE-LAA, the network has peak theoretical wireless speeds reaching up to 1 gigabit per second on capable devices.
There’s no doubt that AT&T – and the U.S. – will be at the forefront of bringing these 5G-enabled industry capabilities to market faster.
The U.S., Just like with 3G and 4G, is Leading the Charge on 5G
Here are the facts:
- China has not dominated the standards-setting process. China just this year decided to engage and get onboard with the rest of the globe with the 3GPP standard.
- While more can be done, in particular with mid-band spectrum, the U.S. has more spectrum available for 5G than any other country including China.
- The Chinese market, controlled by the government, is highly concentrated and limits its ability to deploy a 5G network that will allow for innovators to create.
- While U.S. carriers are deploying 5G this year, China is only trialing it.
- With 1.3 billion people in China, deploying the most cell sites doesn’t imply leading in 5G – it just means you have more capacity and coverage requirements.
The U.S. Government Can Help Ensure We Continue to Lead on 5G
The U.S. government can implement policies to ensure that U.S. leads on 5G by continuing to eliminate barriers to wireless deployment and making more spectrum available for commercial use. And last week, the FCC did just that by adopting a sensible framework for permitting and fees. On spectrum, the FCC has planned a series of auctions of high-band spectrum. It is critical that those auctions take place in a timely manner. It is equally important that additional mid-band spectrum be brought to market. We look forward to continuing to work with federal, state and local governments to make the promise of 5G a reality for every American.