US heavyweights Verizon and AT&T made an impact at MWC2016, but in very different ways. Verizon has focused on the latest results of its 5G trials, whereas AT&T has announced a series of expansions in the Internet of Things (IoT), particularly connected cars.
Verizon says its 5G trials include fixed wireless and mobile systems and are delivering speeds of “multiple gigabits per second” and latency “in the millisecond range” using millimeter wave spectrum bands. It is conducting the trials with its 5G Technology Forum partners Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, and Qualcomm.
Verizon says it will significantly expand the testing over the next few months It will move to pre-commercial trials later in 2016 and anticipates “collaborating closely with our peer operators in the Asian markets as we are very much aligned towards implementing 5G technology in 2017.”
This is the same 5G timeline the telco unveiled in September 2015 and it remains aggressive; 5G will not be standardized until late 2018, which will enable commercial services based on the 5G standard starting in 2020.
AT&T has taken a different approach at MWC 2016, making a string of announcements mainly relating to IoT. It has connected car deals with Porsche and Audi in North America and has an agreement with Vodafone to support the launch of the OnStar connected car service for all new Opel and Vauxhall passenger vehicles in certain European countries.
The latter deal is interesting because it shows how AT&T is using its expertise in the connected car segment and partnerships with other carriers to expand into new geographies. AT&T is the leading connected car provider in the US, with 7 million cars on its network in 4Q15.
Mike Roberts is practice leader for North and South America at Ovum. For more information, visit www.ovum.com/