AT&T’s first 5G wireless networks will go live in a dozen US cities later this year. This next generation wireless technology could drive a new wave of cord-cutting as people realize they don’t need a cable internet subscription.

“After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards,” said AT&T senior Vice President Igal Elbaz. “We’re planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G – and do it much sooner than most people thought possible.”

Towards a Cordless Future

Besides being faster than today’s 4G LTE systems, the next-generation 5G technology will have features designed for a streaming world.

Low-latency connections reduce the time it takes for data packets to flow back and forth to your mobile devices. That will make video streams, even at high resolutions, much smoother.

5G will also handle the growing number of connected devices that the Internet of Things makes possible. That will reduce congestion issues that force carriers to throttle wireless connections today.

AT&T will start its 5G wireless deployment in the coming months as it turns Austin, Texas, into a next-gen test lab. Full-scale deployments will begin towards the end of 2018. AT&T has committed to deploying 5G wireless service in Dallas, Atlanta and Waco. Expect announcements of more cities “in the coming months.”

Of course, there’s a certain amount of corporate spin in AT&T’s announcement. Last November, Verizon announced that it would deploy 5G residential broadband in Sacramento and other markets this year.

2018 will be a year for the earliest of 5G early adopters.  Still, the writing is on the wall for cable companies. Cord cutters have one last cord to cut.