Verizon announced on Wednesday that it would trial its 5G service in 11 US markets by the middle of 2017. Instead of using the technology to speed up mobile communications, however, Verizon is testing the service to be used in fixed wireless deployments to bring gigabit-speed internet to the home.
The move is another step by Verizon toward making its 5G service market-ready. The company is working with partners such as Ericsson, Intel, Qualcomm, and Samsung to conduct the trials, according to a press release. Verizon said that the following 11 cities will serve as test beds for 5G:
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Bernardsville, New Jersey
- Brockton, Massachusetts
- Dallas, Texas
- Denver, Colorado
- Houston, Texas
- Miami, Florida
- Sacramento, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Washington, DC
The companies that Verizon is working with on this trial are members of Verizon’s 5G Technology Forum (5GTF). And, according to the release, the 5GTF has delivered a 5G fixed wireless specification that is “immediately implementable.”
“The 5G systems we are deploying will soon provide wireless broadband service to homes, enabling customers to experience cost-competitive, gigabit speeds that were previously only deliverable via fiber,” Woojune Kim, vice president of the next generation business team for Samsung Electronics, said in the release.
However, as noted by CNET’s Roger Cheng, there isn’t a clear path to becoming a pilot customer for the service just yet. Also, as Cheng wrote, there is no set specification for 5G available, so Verizon could be hoping to impact how that specification continues to develop.
The news of the trials comes shortly after Verizon announced its acquisition of XO Communications’ fiber-optic network business earlier this year. The purchase helped bolster Verizon’s efforts in 5G which, along with other forms of fixed wireless, could help remote workers, telecommuters, and rural businesses gain access to faster internet speeds.
Verizon isn’t alone in its wireless efforts, as AT&T recently announced trials for its AirGig 5G service as well. Google Fiber has also been experimenting with last mile wireless after its purchase of Webpass, and could be using it in the next iteration of its service in cities like Louisville, Kentucky.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Verizon will be trialing its 5G fixed wireless service in 11 US metro areas sometime in mid-2017.
- The service won’t be focused on mobile; rather it will be used to deploy fixed wireless and gigabit internet speeds to homes.
- Along with Verizon, both AT&T and Google Fiber have also been experimenting with fixed wireless and 5G technologies to advance their networks.