5G, the next generation of wireless, will be used to supercharge not only smartphones but "internet of things" devices. Recent tests in Chicago resulted in wireless (LTE-LAA) speeds of 537Mbps-enough to download an HD movie in under a minute, Fuetsch said. The Verge called the network "a meaningless marketing move created to confuse customers and make AT&T seem like it has a technological leg up on the cutting edge of wireless technology" when it first appeared in 2017.
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The 5G Evolution platform is more akin to LTE-Advanced technology, using 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and 3-way carrier aggregation to achieve dramatically faster performance for mobile broadband.
The carrier said that it is slowly shifting towards real 5G, but it needs to upgrade its cell towers first to make that happen. "For example, before you can build out the playroom or open-concept kitchen, you need a strong foundation in place", Fuetsch wrote. "Just ask anyone who's ever dealt with a foundation issue, it's hard and expensive to go back and fix later".
It was right around a year ago when AT&T trumpeted plans to expand its "5G Evolution" network to 20 metro areas before flipping the calendar to 2018. "We're building now to prepare for a 5G future".