Following a string of trials, Verizon said it will launch 5G-based residential broadband services in as many as five markets in 2018.
First up will be Sacramento, Calif., which will get the service – a fixed wireless offering -- in the second half of 2018. Verizon will provide details (such as pricing and speed options) and additional launch markets at a later date.
Verizon estimates that the markets covered by its first wave of deployments will cover about 30 million homes. That will enable Verizon to raise the level of competition with cable operators and other broadband service providers.
Verizon has been testing “pre-commercial” gigabit broadband service this year using millimeter wave spectrum in 11 markets, including Ann Arbor, Mich.; Atlanta, Bernardsville, N.J.; Brockton, Mass.; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Miami; Sacramento; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
Verizon, which has teamed up with vendors such as Ericsson, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung, has been using those trials to see how the technology perform in a range of urban and suburban areas that have different densities with respect to buildings and foliage.
Verizon stressed that the 5G commercial launch won’t have a material impact on Verizon’s capex plans for 2018, as its capital spending program will be “consistent with the past several years.”
Though fixed-wireless broadband is the first commercial application for 5G, the technology will also support mobile services, Internet of Things deployments, as well as services that require low-latency, such as self-driving cars.
“This is a landmark announcement for customers and investors who have been waiting for the 5G future to become a reality,” Hans Vestberg, Verizon’s president of global networks and chief technology officer, said in a statement. “We appreciate our strong ecosystem partners for their passion and technological support in helping us drive forward with 5G industry standards, for both fixed and mobile applications. The targeted initial launches we are announcing today will provide a strong framework for accelerating 5G’s future deployment on the global standards.”