Gigabit 5G internet access speeds, with a migration to 10-Gbps, are part of the developing standards for that new platform. But mobile operators globally are working to develop gigabit versions of 4G networks as well.

AT&T COO John Donovan said at a Citi conference early in January 2017 that the company would make use of a variety of technologies to boost its LTE network speeds to 1 Gbps, including 4×4 and 8×8 MIMO, 265-QAM and carrier aggregation.

He also said that AT&T would bong licensed and unlicensed spectrum to reach those speeds, using Licensed Assisted Access(LAA), which bonds 4G LTE protocols with use of unlicensed spectrum.  

Donovan also reported on other spectrum and capacity efforts. In initial 5G lab trials, AT&T achieved speeds up to 14 Gbps, with less than 3 milliseconds of latency. The industry expectation for 5G is latency less than 5 milliseconds.

In its 4G LTE-Advanced network, AT&T expects to begin reaching peak theoretical speeds of up to 1 Gbps at some cell sites in 2017.

In the first half of 2017, AT&T plans to conduct a trial in Austin where residential customers can stream the DirecTV NOW video service over a fixed wireless 5G connection. The trial will include multiple sites and devices. AT&T also is testing millimeter wave signal propagation.

AT&T also is looking at G.fast technology to boost speeds on copper access loops serving

multi-dwelling units (MDUs).

The most unusual access and transport technology AT&T is working on is Project AirGig, a technology from AT&T Labs that works in conjunction with, but not directly on utility power lines. The importance, of course, is that electrical power goes to all locations, business and consumer. AT&T might be able to use such infrastructure to support its access operations, without deploying as much access infrastructure as typically is required to support the fixed network.