There’s a lot of hype surrounding the forthcoming 5G technology, some of which people say is the most over-hyped tech ever, while others hail it’s arrival as “era-defining innovation”. No matter what side your on, the technology is sure to enhance several everyday tech interactions including providing super faster Wi-Fi, and live streaming interactive AR & AV experiences for users. According to big telecom operators 5G networks are still years away (estimates put it’s arrival at 2020) and wont be implemented rapidly creating patch coverage for several years beyond it’s release.
Every day, mobile phones are becoming more about data, content and entertainment than they are about talking, or even texting. And the next big step in wireless communication is even more mind-blowing: moving your car around without you behind the wheel, and making our cities work more efficiently.
“That mobile phone is not just your mobile phone anymore,” said Hood Harris, president of AT&T Kentucky for external & legislative affairs, during a visit to Henderson on Friday afternoon to help celebrate the opening of AT&T’s new “Experience Store” here at 2201 U.S. 41-North. “Now it’s about the entire experience that connects you to your entertainment, your data, your videos and your music, wherever you are across our mobile network.”
That’s been a big change in recent months and years, and is reflected in AT&T’s ownership of DirecTV. Phones and entertainment are becoming completely linked.
Also still in the works is the acquisition of Time Warner (studios, not cable company).
“Time Warner has the largest collection and the largest back catalog of video content and movies anywhere in the world,” Harris said, and that includes channels like HBO, TBS, TNT and CNN.
“We want to combine their world-class content with our world-class network for a world-class customer experience.”
The change is also reflected in Henderson’s newly opened “Experience Store” on U.S. 41-North. Rather than just a retail shop with a display of phones, it’s completely designed around the total communication and entertainment package — phones, accessories, and entertainment content delivery such as DirecTV, both at home and on the move.
In fact, the new “Experience Store” is the new model for AT&T’s retail efforts, and is only the second such store in the state.
As for what’s ahead, beyond content, Harris said it’s all about the 5G network.
“In Indianapolis, we are currently doing 300-plus megabit download speeds on our wireless network. By the time we launch that 5G network, we’ll probably be doing some gigabit speeds,” Harris explained. “That plus the fact that the 5G network is going to be the infrastructure that will allow us to have autonomous self-driving cars. We have a little bit of that today, but to really have a fully functional autonomous car, it uses about a gig of data per mile. It’s constantly trying to make sure its apps are updated and checking on where other cars are, all this stuff. So that 5G network would power things like autonomous cars, power things like smart cities technology that allows street lights to work better, traffic lights to work better.”
So in the end, “Not just the device in your hand, but the entire ecosystem which you live in is going to be improved upon and better because of that 5G network.”