AT&T to launch 5G wireless this year in Indy and Austin

Standards for 5G still not coming until 2018


AT&T will launch its first 5G wireless service in Indianapolis and Austin later this year, offering theoretical top speeds of 400Mbps or higher, the company said.

Current 4G LTE networks used by customers may be far less, often no higher than 30Mbps on downloads, from the nation's major wireless carriers, according to various field tests by independent testing companies.

One such testing company, OpenSignal, reported last year that AT&T had reached just 7.93 Mbps on 4G LTE for average downloads, based on thousands of measurements. T-Mobile, meanwhile, was the top performer, with 12.26 Mbps.

Massive bandwidth and low latency from 5G will help self-driving cars and mobile augmented reality and virtual reality headsets, AT&T said Wednesday.

New technologies atop the 5G network and greater density of wireless transmitters could bring the theoretical test speeds even higher -- to 1Gbps in 2017, AT&T said. In December, AT&T launched its first business customer trial in Austin with Intel and Ericsson.

The 5G rollout in Austin and Indianapolis will occur "in coming months," AT&T said. The company also said it will build two new 5G testing labs this spring in Austin. The testbeds will be used to support a fixed wireless 5G connection to stream DirecTV Now for residential and small and medium business customers.

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