Verizon plans to launch fixed residential 5G service in three to five markets in the second half of 2018. Sacramento, California, will be the first market to receive the service. The operator declined to name additional markets.
Verizon has been testing its fixed 5G service in 11 markets, focusing primarily on residential broadband. Those test markets were launched earlier this year and included Ann Arbor, Michigan; Bernardsville, New Jersey; Brockton, Massachusetts; Atlanta; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Miami; Sacramento; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
In a video presentation, Verizon said the company’s tests have proven that it can get coverage from line of sight, but also from virtual and partial line of sight coverage into the home.
The company will be launching fixed 5G service based upon its own specifications released in July 2016. At the time the company said it was providing its 5G specs to potential vendors to help accelerate the 5G standardization process. And it has always downplayed the fact that its pre-standard 5G deployment would not be 3GPP standard compliant. One Verizon executive told us that it will likely only require a software upgrade for its pre-standard fixed 5G to become standards compliant.
At Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Spain, last February, a top Verizon executive told SDxCentral that it was possible the company could launch its pre-standard fixed 5G service by 2018 if its friendly user trials were successful. It appears that they were and that Verizon is forging ahead with its aggressive timeline.
The reason these 11 markets were selected, according to Verizon, is because they were in areas where Verizon had 28-GHz spectrum available from its acquisition of XO Communications. Plus, Verizon wanted to test its 5G service in a variety of different terrains and demographics. For example, some markets are urban, some are suburban, some have a lot of apartments, others have primarily single-family homes.
In a statement, Verizon said it estimates there are potentially 30 million households nationwide that might be interested in its 5G residential broadband service. The company also said that the 5G launch won’t have an impact on its capital expenditures in 2018.
A Verizon technician installs an antenna for the company’s 5G testing.