Road to 5G: AT&T Launches 5G Trial with ‘Magnolia at the Silos’

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AT&T is kicking off its largest 5G fixed wireless trial with Magnolia in Waco, Texas, at the Silos. Not only is this AT&T’s largest trial in terms of mobile traffic, but it also marks its largest 5G trial with a home and lifestyle brand.

“This is a meaningful and important step in bringing our 5G fixed wireless trials to Waco starting with the Silos,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Technology Planning and Engineering, AT&T. “Taking our 5G tests out of the lab and into real, high-traffic environments like the Silos will bring a fantastic customer experience while helping us learn even more about building a 5G network of the future for both consumers and businesses.”

5G Moves via mmWave

The 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) system will distribute connections throughout the location of the Silos via Wi-Fi. Visitors and employees at the Silos will be some of the first to experience this trial service simply by logging onto Wi-Fi through their mobile devices.

Every day, roughly 5,000 people visit the Silos to shop at Magnolia Market, Magnolia Seed and Supply, eat at the food truck park or Silos Baking Co., play games and spend time in the garden.

“At Magnolia, we’re always looking for opportunities to implement innovative solutions,” said David Washburn, information technology manager, Magnolia. “We’re excited to see how this technology enhances efficiencies for vendor partners and employees alike.”

The 5G trial service will be distributed through a number of Wi-Fi access points covering the entire grounds of the Silos, and it is expected to enable faster wireless speeds not just for visitors, but for employees and vendors who use mobile point of sale devices and wireless devices to manage their back office operations.

“Connectivity is at the core of every company’s digital transformation. 5G will have a significant impact on how businesses work and how they engage with their customers,” said Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer, AT&T Business. “The trial with Magnolia helps drive a path for businesses of all sizes to have access to massive capacity via 5G to serve their employees and their customers in ways we couldn’t have even dreamed of just a few years ago.”

During 5G trials in Waco, AT&T will be testing millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum and 5G radio and antenna prototypes. We’ll will use our network function virtualization platform, AT&T FlexWareSM, as the router for the 5G network.

AT&T plans to expand the 5G trial to additional trial participants in Waco. Those may include small businesses, residential customers, churches and large educational institutions.

It’s important for AT&T to conduct 5G trials like this one and to learn how these technologies function in a real-world environment and help drive outcomes for businesses across all industries. Results from these 5G trials will help speed up standards-based 5G deployment as soon as late 2018.

At the same time, trial participants like Magnolia are experiencing an early glimpse into the future and seeing some of the real-life benefits we expect tomorrow’s 5G to offer.