Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said extensive testing has given the carrier confidence in the role of millimeter waves in its fixed 5G deployment during an interview with David Faber on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” last week.
“We had 11 markets up last year in testing with hundreds of cell sites proving that millimeter wave is an outstanding set of spectrum for this,” McAdam said. “So we have been plowing money into this within our capital budget for the last three years and we’re going to be commercial.”
The comments came in response to criticism by T-Mobile head John Legere, who claimed that the propagation of the millimeter band is so limited that Verizon would need an unsustainable number of antennas. McAdams said Verizon was disproving popular myths about millimeter wave and suggested that statements that an antenna must be with in 200 feet of a house might be driven by competitive jealousy.
“We tested for more than a year, so we could see every part of foliage, every storm that went through, and we have busted the myth that it has to be line of sight,” McAdams said. “We’re now designing the network for over 2,000 feet from transmitter to receiver, which has a huge impact on our capital need going forward.”
Verizon just added Los Angeles as its second fixed non-standalone 5G last week, McAdam announced on the CNBC show, joining Sacrament. By the end of the year the carrier is expected to have four markets using fixed non-standalone 5G. (Hint: Boston and Washington DC are two of its best markets)
“We’ll literally have more than 1,000 cell sites up and operating on the global [non-standalone] standard. We’ve got CPE [customer premise equipment] for fixed wireless applications in the intelligent home with home appliances and broadband, Alexa, Siri, and things like that,”
When mobile devices come available, Verizon plans to quickly move into a mobile environment. “The beauty of how we’re architecting our network is that it’s a multipurpose network,” McAdam said. “So, whether we offer fixed wireless or mobile or enterprise service, it doesn’t matter. That allows us to drive our costs down and serve more customers.”
McAdam said Verizon’s accumulate assets, including 36 million miles of fiber and spectrum from XO Communications and Straight Path Communications, allow it to offer “ultrawideband 5G.”
“So we will literally have hundreds of megahertz of bandwidth to deliver a full suite of services of 5G,” he said, “with improved latency and throughput and the literally thousands of times the capacity of 5G … for about 1/10thof what 4G costs today.”
Additionally, McAdams refuted recent reports that the United States trails China in 5G development.
“I can’t say where [China is] in their process, but this is a three-year journey for us,” he said. “We started with global standards. We worked with the other carriers around the world and the equipment suppliers, like Ericsson and Nokia and Samsung. And so I’m not sure what is not happening in the market, but I think China is working hard to stay with up us.”