5G Is Here: Intel Reveals First 5G Modem Ever, AT&T Plans Move Into 5G

The entire world hasn’t even finished converting to 4G, but now 5G is already here. Intel, AT&T and others have made announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show regarding their moves into the mobile technology, which should be faster and better than its predecessors. Indeed, CES has been huge for Intel this year, as the company also held an impressive media event inside virtual reality.

Intel 5G

Intel reveals world’s first 5G modem

Although the announcements reveal the front-runners in this area of mobile tech, we’re still some time away from it being fully ready for use by the average consumer. Intel’s new 5G modem places it in prime position for mobile carriers such as AT&T to test the technology within their networks, and, in fact, AT&T also announced at CES that it is testing the new tech.

Intel said its 5G modem chip can provide speeds greater than 5Gbps while also keeping latency exceptionally low. It also complies with several specifications that are needed in order to qualify as 5G. However, this technology isn’t yet possible in some areas and on some mobile networks, as carriers have yet to upgrade them. In order to accommodate the lack of support for 5G, Intel’s modem chip can fall back to 4G when needed.

The chip maker also said the modem can use both 4G and 5G at the same time, which could theoretically boost the bandwidth that’s available. And its work isn’t only in the area of mobile phones, as the company also is targeting the automotive market.

Intel expects to start testing its new modems in the second half of this year. After the tests are successfully completed, the chip maker will then start producing them.

AT&T to start testing 5G

The mobile market in the U.S. has heated up, with Verizon’s dominance being called into question as AT&T has vowed to be one of the first to offer 5G speeds. It was revealed about a month ago that the carrier was planning to begin tests with Intel.

Now the company has said it won’t wait until the final standards for the tech are nailed down before it begins laying down the foundation needed for the move. AT&T said it plans to offer speeds of 1Gbps starting this year in areas that support 4G LTE-Advanced. It expects to begin trials on 5G tech with businesses and some residential customers in the Austin, Texas area. Verizon started trials on the technology about a year ago.

But this isn’t all about dominance in mobile, as the company is seeking a bigger piece of the streaming video market as well. It said 5G trials for streaming video with DirecTV Now customers in the Austin area will begin in the first half of this year. The main goal of the test will be to see how the wireless network is able to handle “heavy video traffic.”

The company said its 5G network has already managed up to 14Gbps in lab tests, making it much faster than its 4G network.