The big blue network announced nearly a year ago that it had launched 5G Evolution service in Austin, TX, and, since then, the network availability has expanded quite a bit.
"We'll continue to build our 5G foundation across the country and along the way we'll keep sharing updates on 5G trials, new 5G Evolution markets, new LTE-LAA markets, and name more cities where we'll launch standards-based mobile 5G in 2018", said AT&T chief technology officer Andre Fuetsch, in a blog post.
It is an aggressive roll out for sure, though to be clear, 5G Evolution is not the same thing as true 5G.
AT&T has its sights set on launching its 5G network before the end of the year, but before that, it's building up its 5G Evolution network, which utilizes 4G LTE technologies for faster data speeds. The carrier has also added support for LTE-Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA) in parts of three new markets.
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About a year ago, AT&T launched its 5G Evolution service. Wow!
Fuetsch said these technologies "serve as the runway to 5G by boosting the existing LTE network and priming it for the future of connectivity". AT&T states that this service can deliver theoretical speeds as fast as 400Mbps (actual speeds will vary). That infrastructure will also be ready to support real 5G when the new standard is ready to be deployed.
Fuetsch outlined AT&T's 5G path a little further, highlighting the role SDN and the cloud plays in that path. "We can enable faster speeds now, and upgrade to 5G when it's ready".
"5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment", said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations.
Virtualization and SDN are key to this vision.