AT&T successfully tested a millimeter wave mobile 5G browsing session with a standards-based device last week in Waco, Texas, introducing the first 5G device for their network in the process.
The session was conducted with the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot, which uses 3GPP 5G NR standards. This device will be commercially available on AT&T’s 5G network, which will be available in parts of 12 markets by the end of 2018. An additional19 are slated to come online in 2019.
According to AT&T, this is the first standards-based mobile 5G device capable of accessing a millimeter wave 5G network. The device includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem, which AT&T says is the first announced and commercial 5G modem with millimeter wave capabilities.
“Today’s news is a seminal moment in the advancement of mobile 5G technology,” AT&T Mobility and Entertainment President David Christopher said in a press release. “This proves we are well on our way to the promise of mobile 5G for consumers.”
In September, AT&T said that it had successfully transferred 5G data over millimeter wave spectrum using standards-based production equipment. The test featured a Qualcomm Technologies’ smartphone form factor and the X50 5G modem. An RF subsystem and Ericsson 5G-NR capable radios connected to the carrier’s virtual 3X standards-compliant core were included in the test.
It will be sometime before 5G enabled smartphones will become available, and they won’t be cheap. Earlier this month, Strategy Analytics said that 5G phones are expected to sell for more than $1,000 — $750 wholesale – when introduced next year. Price declines will occur, the report said. But they will do so at a much slower pace than their 3G and 4G predecessors. That price tag means that device subsidies, a business model that has largely been abandoned, will return.