AT&T to conduct 5G network trials for DirecTv Now customers

An AT&T sign is seen outside a branch in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, U.S., October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc said it plans to test its high-speed wireless 5G network, which reached speeds of 14 gigabits per second in lab trials, for customers of its online streaming television service, DirecTv Now, in Austin, Texas.

The U.S. wireless carrier, which plans to conduct the trial in the first half of 2017, has also teamed up with Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson for mobile and broadband trials of the 5G network in the second half of the year.

New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and maybe 100 times faster than today’s 4G networks, giving the potential to connect at least 100 billion devices with download speeds that can reach 10 gigabits per second.

The new network technology could have a broad impact beyond things like speeding up movie downloads and could improve road traffic by monitoring sensors in streetlights, roadside architecture and cars.

AT&T’s U.S. rival Verizon Communications Inc said last July it has also laid out plans to conduct trials for its 5G network this year.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta