A fresh start for carriers: AT&T and T-Mobile take on CES with announcements on 5G and data plans

Mobile industry news for the week of January 2, 2017

With all eyes on the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week, T-Mobile and AT&T made announcements about their plans for 5G and data services in 2017. Set on beating others to 5G deployment and advanced content capabilities, AT&T announced an upcoming trial that will stream DirecTV Now using 5G. T-Mobile made a splash of its own by revealing the KickBack program, which will provide customers with up to $20 credit for unused data. The stories on our minds are below.

AT&T wants to make 5G a reality in 2017 — AT&T laid out its game plan for 5G deployment at CES on Wednesday. Wireless Week reports that the carrier plans to support 1 Gbps speed this year by continuing to densify its LTE-Advanced network and launching four-channel carrier aggregation. AT&T also announced plans for a 5G trial that would allow users to stream DirecTV Now using the network. The carrier will also be conducting more general mobile 5G trials later this year. With video as a high priority for mobile consumers, it’s no surprise that AT&T is eager to gain a hold of 5G video capabilities and a lead on next-generation content.

T-Mobile to pay customers using less data — T-Mobile made an announcement of its own at CES this week regarding data offerings. Starting late January, T-Mobile will essentially be paying back customers for data that they don’t use. According to Mashable, this program called KickBack will give customers who use less than 2GB per line up to $20 of credit for unused data. Furthermore, T-Mobile One will be the only plan available to new customers, who will also get to experience a new transparent billing program called All In. Just like AT&T hyped its potential success with 1Gps, the CEO of T-Mobile John Legere predicted that it would be the first carrier to achieve 1Gbps speed. It’s looking like the fierce carrier competition will continue into 2017, with customer service and 5G deployment as priorities.

What news stories are on your minds this week? We’d love to hear what stories you’re dialing into.