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5G Networks Under Construction

Rain on a roof, 4 Gbits/s in a mobile van

eetimes.com, Dec. 19, 2018 – 

Carriers are racing to turn on their first 5G services, but the underlying upgrade that they are working on will take years, according to a handful of engineering managers helping build the networks.

It's a marathon, not a sprint, they say, for several reasons. Strategies for deploying services over millimeter-wave bands are still in development, specs and plans for the 5G core have yet to be hammered out, and business models for selling the network services are just starting to be explored.

That said, the work is, in some ways, moving at a faster pace than any other cellular transition.

For example, AT&T committed to launching 5G in parts of 12 U.S. cities before the end of the year based on 3GPP specifications set in June. (It switched on services there Dec. 18.) In past transitions, carriers had about 18 months to go from specs to live networks.

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