MHTA – AT&T has announced that they plan to launch 5G Evolution in parts of Minneapolis in the coming months. It will provide its latest network technology in some parts of the city, including areas near the host stadium, in time for the Big Game in February.

Minneapolis is one of 20 markets where they plan to bring AT&T 5G Evolution by the end of the year, with this technology already available in parts of Austin and Indianapolis today. 5G Evolution offers customers a taste of the future of entertainment and connectivity on their devices.

In 5G Evolution markets, AT&T upgrades cell towers with network upgrades that include ultra-fast LTE Advanced features like 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and 3-way carrier aggregation. These features, together with other upgrades, are providing faster speeds and a better customer experience.

With the LG V30, Moto Z2 Force Edition, Samsung Galaxy Note8, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8+, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, AT&T wireless customers in 5G Evolution markets can use these 3 technologies simultaneously. This makes it possible to take full advantage of the wireless experience.

“We’re excited about launching this new wireless network in Minneapolis in the coming months as we move towards standards-based mobile 5G,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design. “The upgrades we’re making today in Minneapolis are the foundation for the future of next generation connectivity in this city.”

AT&T is aggressively deploying equipment and investing in the right mix of spectrum and technology while 5G standards are still being finalized. They are working with more than a dozen global technology companies to deploy 5G. And they are an industry leader finalizing 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless standards requirements by the end of the year. These standards will enable chipset development for global 5G.

This is a major step on their journey to deliver standards based 5G mobile networks as soon as late 2018.

AT&T has been working closely with the city of Minneapolis to ensure its network is ready to support the technology of the future. The investments they’re making prepare us for the future of 5G and innovations like smarter cities and immersive entertainment experiences over augmented and virtual reality.

“Minnesota is in a great position to welcome 5G Evolution wireless technology, with a climate that encourages the deployment of small cells – an integral building block for 5G,” said State Senator Bobby Joe Champion.  “Good public policy can help put Minnesota on the map and attract investment that will prepare our state for the next generation wireless economy.”

“It’s no surprise Minneapolis was chosen as a market for 5G Evolution,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president and CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association.  “Minnesota is well on its way to becoming one of the country’s top five states in science and technology, with a strong innovation economy, talented tech workforce and fast growing tech companies.  These ultra-fast speeds from AT&T will help power tech innovation and boost Minnesota’s competitiveness.”

Left to right: Andy Sackreiter, Director of Engineering; State Senator Bobby Joe Champion, Paul Weirtz, State President- AT&T Minnesota; Margaret Anderson Kelliher, President & CEO of MHTA; Leah Wong , Minneapolis Downtown Council
Left to right: Andy Sackreiter, Director of Engineering; State Senator Bobby Joe Champion, Paul Weirtz, State President- AT&T Minnesota; Margaret Anderson Kelliher, President & CEO of MHTA; Leah Wong , Minneapolis Downtown Council

Adding these LTE Advanced technologies to the wireless network in Minneapolis is just one of the ways they’re investing to improve the customer experience in the area.

From 2014-2016, they invested nearly $350 million in their Minnesota wireless and wired networks. These investments drive a wide range of upgrades to reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for Minnesota consumers and businesses. They also enhance critical services that support public safety and first responders.

In 2016, AT&T made 1,271 wireless network upgrades in 272 communities across Minnesota. This includes adding new cell sites and network capacity to existing cell sites. Continuing to expand their network in the area gives AT&T the most wireless coverage in Minnesota.

Besides upgrading the network in and around downtown Minneapolis, they are also making significant upgrades to Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at the Big Game host stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The DAS at the stadium is future-ready.  That means they’ve overloaded the stadium with wireless capacity and boosted LTE capacity by more than 150% compared to last year. With more than 800 antennas, the network inside the stadium alone could provide coverage to the entire city of Minneapolis.

Progress on the Path to 5G

Small cells are also an important ingredient on our path to 5G.  They have already installed a number of small cells in Minneapolis and plan to add more in the next few months.

The payoff of their 5G network will be limitless for customers. Lab trials are already reaching speeds up to 14 gigabits-per-second with fixed wireless 5G technologies. They’ll continue advancing 5G in our AT&T Labs locations and in field trials. And they plan to delve further into the role of software-defined networks and 5G.

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