AT&T to Roll Out Super-Fast 5G

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How fast is wireless 5G? Using the technology, a high-definition movie can be downloaded in under a minute. A 50 gigabyte (GB) game can be downloaded in less than two. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) will start 5G commercial deployment later this year, and it may completely change how high-speed internet service is deployed.

It may also give telecom companies a chance to raise prices and take market share from one another.

The huge telecom announced:

AT&T expects to be the first U.S. company to introduce mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by late 2018. The promise of mobile 5G is seemingly endless and we’re moving fast to make that promise a reality.

To reach this ambitious milestone, we’ve taken a different approach to transforming our network. AT&T 5G services will be based on industry standards for 5G. To make this happen, we were one of the key drivers for standards acceleration last year.

Eventually, with national deployment, 5G will alter both the use and speed of wireless devices and in-home Wi-Fi. As a matter of fact, it may be the largest challenge to wireless cable and traditional fiber to the home since these technologies were first available.

5G deployment will become part of the land grab among major U.S. telecoms and, eventually, cable companies. The market for wireless communications is limited by the population now. Over 300 million people have cell phones of some sort. Almost every home in all urban markets is wired. The footrace is to see which company can get 5G into the market fast enough to steal market share from others.

5G also may allow the industry to increase prices, one of the hardest challenges it has had in years. As a matter of fact, price wars over 4G service have eroded industry margins.

Melissa Arnoldi, president of AT&T Technology and Operations, said as the company made the announcement:

5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment. We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more.

She had best hope people will pay her company a premium for the change.