AT&T heats up 5G global race

Global Business

At an event called AT&T Spark, President of AT&T Labs Andre Fuetsch announced the company had achieved a technological breakthrough.

“Earlier this weekend, AT&T completed the world’s first mobile 5G call. And this was done in Waco, Texas,” Fuetsch told a crowd.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

AT&T also said it will introduce mobile 5G to parts of eleven other U.S. cities by the end of the year and seven more next year, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“Major carriers here in the U.S. have started to announce early deployments, test deployments in a couple of big cities. I think there is a relatively similar situation happening in China. And we’re starting to see the companies building the main chips to drive these things,” Bob O’Donnell, President & Chief Analyst of TECHnalysis Research said. “We’ll see that in products beginning next year. And that’s going to be a worldwide phenomena.”

O’Donnell said 5G will vastly increase speed in dense urban environments and enhance applications ranging from connected cars to smart factories. While showing off a new smart tracker, handset maker Samsung said 5G technologies will help create smart cities someday.

“I think that 5G will absolutely unlock a new economy,” said Justin Denison, Sr. V.P., Product Strategy of Samsung during an onstage panel. “It will unlock a new palette for entrepreneurs to grow, for entrepreneurs to innovate. ”

One way AT&T is unlocking that potential is by working with around 500 tech startups every year.

“The rate of innovation that is happening in the outside world is happening at a rate that’s way greater than we as an organization can handle,” Vishy Gopalakrishnan, VP of Ecosystems and Innovation at AT&T said. “One of the principles that we believe in — there is no innovation without collaboration.”

One collaboration is with the startup GridRaster. It’s developing software that helps reduce delays in data transfer—something vital for new technologies like augmented reality.

“It allows people in remote locations, like my family back in India. I can actually almost teleport them here and have a common forum to see a movie or watch a game that we’re interested in,” said Dijam Panigrahi, Co-Founder of GridRaster. “Those things are not possible without 5G.”

AT&T also announced it’s getting closer to initial commercial deployment of Project AirGig. With nearly one-third of the U.S. without hi-speed or broadband internet access, AirGig’s modules are intended to fill that void.

AT&T demonstrated how the AirGig system could transform ordinary wireless systems into ones capable of speeds that can support several thousand streaming HD movies. The devices are designed to snap onto existing telephone poles, sending data along power lines and then wirelessly transmitting it to homes for final delivery.

Roger Cheng on the global race in 5G

CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to Roger Cheng, executive editor of CNET News about the role of 5G technology and its future.