5G conjures up visions of super-fast smartphone service, but it could give consumers and enterprises a lot more. In the next few months, some residents of Austin, Texas, will get to watch DirecTV Now at home using a form of the still-emerging wireless technology.
AT&T plans to start a trial of that service in the first half of this year. Instead of the cutting-edge mobile networks that are expected to beam multi-gigabit service to moving phones, it will use a fixed wireless network built on pre-standard 5G technology to reach users' homes.
DirecTV Now is AT&T's streaming video service for consumers who want to cut the cord on cable TV. It launched late last year with bundles of traditional cable channels delivered over the internet. In this trial, it will stream over a dedicated wireless network that won't follow subscribers away from home, at least not in its current form.