YOU ARE AT:5GKagan: AT&T will be first to bring 5G to Atlanta, Dallas and...

Kagan: AT&T will be first to bring 5G to Atlanta, Dallas and Waco

AT&T Mobility looks like it will be first out of the 5G gates at the end of this year where they will launch in a dozen cities. They say the first markets will be Atlanta Georgia, Dallas and Waco, Texas, with more announcements to come. And the 5G story is just beginning. Other carriers are lining up with their offerings as well starting next year in 2019.

So, where do all the wireless carriers and handset makers stand in the 5G race? Other major wireless carriers like Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint along with smaller carriers like C Spire Wireless, US Cellular and others are also gearing up for the transition to 5G. In fact, I expect to hear the same kind of announcements from Google Project Fi, Comcast Xfinity Mobile and Charter Spectrum wireless service, which has yet to launch.

Over the next several years, every wireless player, networks and handset makers like Apple iPhone, iPad and HomePod, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy will all be in the 5G game.

As always, while it will take several years for a full 5G transformation, just like it was for 4G and 3G, it’s great to see carriers pushing the limits and moving ahead very rapidly. And AT&T Mobility rapid push into this marketplace will force other carriers to jump in quickly as well.

AT&T was also first to market with iPhone, DirecTV, wireless TV

Initially, this will give AT&T a competitive advantage, and that will push other carriers to speed up their rollout just to keep up. Being first to market is in AT&T’s blood. They were first into many different areas like the smartphones, iPhone, pay-TV, wireless TV and so much more.

While the 5G network will be much faster, to take full advantage you will need new equipment. That means handset and tablet makers like Apple iPhone, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy need to get up to speed as quickly as possible. There are no 5G handsets or tablets in the marketplace today.

Customers with existing devices will not see massive change initially. That will occur over the next year. However, existing customers will benefit from the foundation AT&T is laying through their 5G Evolution on LTE and LTE-LAA.

AT&T says users of late model devices will see higher speeds and lower latency because of 5G Evolution and LTE-LAA. Customers will get their data faster, which will free up bandwidth. Users of older devices will also benefit. The foundations they are laying for mobile 5G will benefit these users by seamlessly integrating with their LTE network technologies.

Mobile hot spots will be some of the first devices to tap into the mobile 5G network this year. They also expect to offer smartphones and other devices as soon as they become available. That puts pressure on every device maker to get up to speed sooner rather than later because customers will demand it.

Wireless TV or mobile TV will expand with 5G speeds

AT&T started the wireless TV or mobile TV wave a year and a half ago. I expect every wireless competitor to jump into this space as well, especially as we move rapidly into 5G. The latest carrier to announce was T-Mobile who says they will enter this space later this year. I also expect to hear from Verizon Wireless later this year on this front. Don’t know much about Sprint plans yet.

Looking ahead, 5G is important. We are also seeing industry after industry move toward wireless connectivity with their products and services. Education, healthcare, retail, automotive, appliances, vending machines, trucking and every other industry is rapidly moving in the wireless direction.

Add to this the federal, state and local governments along with FirstNet, which is the national communications network AT&T is building for first responders and you can see the exploding demand for wireless products, services and connectivity.

AT&T building FirstNet for first responders nationwide

Each year, more industries are adding wireless to their products and services. This demand has begun a rapid acceleration in the growth curve for wireless connectivity.

To meet that demand, wireless networks must quickly adopt 5G. Moving from one generation to the next is a time-consuming process as we have watched it move from 2G to 3G to 4G, which is where we are today, and then to 5G. Each shift takes several years.

In fact, we generally have three generations in the marketplace at one time. Let me explain. Right now, we are a 4G nation. However, in many areas we still use 3G. In fact, there may still be 2G in certain markets. At the same time, we are planning for 5G. This wide array of speeds is a constant as the industry continues to get faster and better.

This is the exciting world of wireless that we have watched grow and change since the early 1980’s. The services we use today are far more extensive than voice only like it was in the early days. The last ten years have exploded with apps and other features that other industries have rapidly latched onto for their own growth.

Wireless data creates new businesses opportunities like Uber and Lyft

In fact, wireless data has created a new environment that has led to new ideas and new industries like Uber and Lyft. Fast growing companies that couldn’t have existed without wireless data connectivity.

The good news is we are still just in the beginning. These are the very early years. Our society will continue to change, improve and grow as we move to 5G. We will see new businesses start that don’t even exist today just like Uber and Lyft. We will see traditional businesses improve. All of this will make for a better world going forward.

To the customer, this new race to 5G will begin near the end of this year, with AT&T taking the first steps into this new world. Of course, the 5G race has been running for several years already and it will continue for many years to come. That’s the wireless world. So, ready or not, it’s coming on quickly. Get ready for the next great 5G transformation!

ABOUT AUTHOR

Jeff Kagan
Jeff Kaganhttp://jeffkagan.com
Jeff is a RCR Wireless News Columnist, Industry Analyst, Key Opinion Leader and Influencer. He shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for 35 years. Jeff follows wireless, wire line telecom, Internet, Pay-TV, cable TV, AI, IoT, Digital Healthcare, Cloud, Mobile Pay, Smart cities, Smart Homes and more.

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