The wireless industry’s much ballyhooed threat to the cable connectivity business saw its leading edge roll out this week, with Verizon releasing the key details of its big 5G launch.
Let’s just say that Comcast, Charter and the rest of the cable industry don’t appear to be running for their lives, at least not yet.
Verizon’s new fixed wireless service, dubbed “Verizon 5G Home,” will debut October 1, priced at $50 a month for Verizon mobile users and $70 a month standalone, with taxes, fees, installation and equipment costs included in the price. Users can cancel anytime.
The deployment, which will start out in Los Angeles, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento, will be fueled by some decent promotion—users get the first three months free, and the service comes packaged with three free months of YouTube TV, along with an Apple TV 4K or Google Chromecast Extra.
Speeds, however, are not transcendental. Verizon promises peak speeds of nearly 1 Gbps, but cautions that users “should expect typical network speeds around 300 Mbps.” This comes as most large and mid-sized cable operators are offering speeds of 940 Mbps downstream.
This week, for example, Alice USA launched the leading edge of its FTTH service in Long Island, delivering 940 Mbps symmetrically for $80 a month unbundled.
There are some cumbersome elements to Verizon’s launch, as well. The No. 1 U.S. wireless company wants to be first out of the 5G gate so badly, that it’s launching its service with professionally installed customer premises equipment built around its proprietary G TF standard.
Soon, when its vendors upgrade their hardware and software to the 3Gpp 5G NR standard, Verizon will have to turn around and upgrade everyone’s hardware, software, chipsets and devices to that technology, truck rolls included.
“I don’t see anything about 5G that ever makes it comparable to DOCSIS 3.1 or DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex, or any capability we have through fixed line service,” Charter Communications CFO Chris Winfrey speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference earlier this month.