Announcing that “5G is here,” Verizon said it will launch the first commercial 5G service a fixed wireless video/data service on Oct. 1 in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Only one problem. The service the carrier plans to launch, “5G Home,” is using its own proprietary 5G standard in this initial commercial launch in order to move more quickly. So, in the eyes of 3GPP, this may not be seen as 5G at all.
Typical network speeds will be 300 Mbps with peak speeds of nearly 1 Gig, with no data caps. Verizon 5G Home is designed for consumers looking to “cut the cord” or upgrade from their current cable service. Users
5G Home customers will get YouTube TV and a free Apple TV 4K or Google Chromecast Ultra device at installation.
Verizon will expand its coverage area once it can install the new standards-compliant equipment from our vendors. But starting Thursday, even consumers who live outside the initial launch cities can sign up at FirstOn5G.com to become “First On 5G” Members. You’ll receive updates on when 5G is coming to you, and we’ll keep you apprised of 5G-related news and offers, including the launch of Verizon’s 5G mobility service.
5G Home is built on what it calls the “5G Ultra Wideband network,” which includes end-to-end fiber, small cells and millimeter wave spectrum holdings.
Verizon 5G Home is unique because it’s built on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. 5G is only as good as the network it’s built on and Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is the only 5G network that combines:
Verizon has actively participated in the 5G NR standards process making the first 5G NR data transmission in a lab with Nokia and Qualcomm; the first two-way data transmission of 3GPP 5G NR; the first use of multi-carrier aggregation with Nokia and other firsts. The carrier was intent on deploying 5G “as quickly as possible” but the 3GPP standard equipment is not ready.
“That’s why our 5G Home service is built on our proprietary 5G TF standard; we are able to deliver results and a 5G network faster than waiting for the formal 3GPP 5G NR standard to be incorporated into network equipment, devices, chipsets and software,” Verizon wrote.
When 3GPP 5G NR standard equipment is available, it will upgrade users at no charge and it will expand its 5G broadband internet coverage area to additional cities.
“We spent the last three years driving the industry to bring 5G to consumers as soon as possible,” said Ronan Dunne, head of Verizon’s wireless business. “We developed early standards that allowed the industry and hardware and software manufacturers to build solutions more quickly. As a result of this initiative and ongoing collaboration, we will rapidly deliver the promise of 5G to our customers.”
Craig Moffett, senior analysts, MoffettNathanson, wrote that the fixed wireless deployments make sense within the narrative that they are “low-hanging fruit” that can be plucked while densifying for 5G. But he had big questions about the possible return on investment deploying fixed wireless in areas with pre-existing fiber overbuilds. He also had doubts about Verizon’s choice of upper millimeter wave band spectrum.
“If signals at 39 GHz do turn out to be line-of-sight only, the service will almost certainly not be economically viable,” he said. The issue isn’t only that trees and foliage and other obstacles – say, a moving truck – would block the signal, but also that the first row of houses would likely block the signal to all the other houses,” Moffett wrote.