Not surprisingly, the signal range for mobile 5G—something AT&T plans to begin introducing as a commercial service late this year—will be significant less than in a fixed environment, Wolter said.

“Our current view is that we would have to space our transmitters every 150 to 250 meters, so we’re looking at probably 100 to 150 meters as a reasonable [signal] range,” Wolter said. “There’s been some work that makes that look realistic, be we have some further testing to do to see if that’s the right number.”

As is the case with all wireless deployments, the range of 5G millimeter-wave signals depends largely on the environment, Wolter said.

“If you’re in a downtown urban environment—where it’s going to be pretty much line of sight until you go around a corner—that’s one thing,” he said. “If you have a street lined with trees, that’s going to be a different environment. If you’re in a heavily treed environment, that’s going to be difficult. All of those things are going to impact the kind of range that we can anticipate.”

AT&T has seen data throughputs of about gigabit per second in its fixed 5G trials, and the carrier expects that those data throughputs will only improve when the technology is commercially available, Wolter said.

“When we deploy, we would anticipate having wider bandwidth and a higher order of MIMO than we’re using today, so it [the data-throughput speed] will go up from there,” Wolter said.

With ultra-dense networks, AT&T believes similar data rates can be achieved in a mobile setting, Wolter said.

“Your throughput depends on the quality of your signal,” he said. “If you’re close enough, and you’ve got a good enough signal, you can pump a lot of data through there. We still believe you can get gigabit-plus speeds in a mobile environment.”

While high data-throughput speeds tend to get the most public attention with any next-generation communications technology, one of the most-anticipated characteristics of 5G connectivity is the promise of low latency—a feature that is especially important to sectors such as public safety, utilities and autonomous vehicles.

Melissa Arnoldi, president of AT&T Technology and Operations, wrote in a recent blog that the latency rates observed at AT&T’s 5G pilot in Waco, Texas, were recorded at 9 milliseconds to 12 milliseconds.

“For context, MIT researchers discovered the human brain “latency” is 13 milliseconds,” Arnoldi states in the blog.