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AT&T CTO: Verizon Is “Fixated on Fixed”

AT&T discusses mobile 5G plans during MWCA

Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and the company’s chief technology officer, didn’t mince words in a meeting with reporters during Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles. He characterized competitor Verizon’s 5G Home service, which gained significant share of voice during the show, as “homegrown” and “proprietary.”

Verizon is launching a 5G-branded fixed wireless home broadband service that is initially based on the company’s Verizon Technical Forum standard rather than 3GPP’s 5G New Radio specification. The broadband service will be available in four markets at first. Verizon has detailed plans to upgrade related sites with 5G NR-compatible equipment and is also planning a mobile 5G service for 2019. AT&T is touting its plans to make standards-based mobile 5G available in a dozen markets by year end with more growth on tap for 2019. Both carriers are using millimeter wave spectrum for their 5G rollouts.

Regarding the competition,” Fuetsch said, “I can’t really comment on their strategy but they really seem to be fixated on fixed. It really appears to be this sort of tale of two cities. At AT&T we’re all about 5G mobile, standards-based. They seem to be fixated on 5G fixed and non-standards-based. We think that’s pretty significant and a differentiator on a couple of notes.” He outlined how AT&T’s launch device, a mobile hot spot described as a puck, will seamlessly connect to 5G where it’s available and LTE everywhere else. “It will seamlessly cross over. This is really why we call it mobile.”

In response to questions regarding AT&T’s view on fixed 5G, David Christopher, president of AT&T Mobility and Entertainment, said, “We have certainly tested fixed 5G…and will continue to test it. We just think the biggest opportunity is for mobile. We intend to be a leader in mobile 5G and that’s where we’re starting.”

AT&T says they’re ‘testing 5G fixed.’ Sounds like they’re not being successful. Meanwhile, we are signing up customers in LA, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento, and start installing customer equipment and turning up service in October.
“We’ve said we’d be first in 5G. And we are. First in the U.S., first on the globe. By using our proprietary 5G technology (which as AT&T’s CTO knows, is 5G), we drive the entire global ecosystem forward. Same as we did with the standards bodies, who credit Verizon’s assertiveness in advancing the 5G technology and ecosystem by 18-24 months faster than where they’d expected to be.
We’re able to walk and chew gum at the same time. We will be first in 5G mobility. Which means we’re focused on 5G broadband AND 5G mobility.” – RCR Wireless
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