That time frame is two years earlier than most estimates, which have 5G not commercially available until 2020. Verizon has been similarly aggressive with its 5G development, and has said it will have a fixed wireless 5G pilot available in 2017.
Telia and Ericsson last week released the results of an outdoor 5G trial that the companies conducted in Kista, Sweden. In that test, the companies achieved data speeds of 15 Gb/s and a latency of less than 3 seconds. The test was in the 15 GHz band and used 800 MHz of spectrum.
Telia and Ericsson acknowledged that the current tests are using pre-standardized 5G equipment. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will be the standards body that releases the final 5G standard, but the 3GPP (the mobile industry standards group) is expected to contribute to the ITU’s standard process. The 3GPP is expected to release its first official 5G specs sometime in mid-2018.
Verizon has also been conducting tests using pre-standardized 5G equipment. The company released its own 5G specs last summer in conjunction with members of its 5G Tech Forum that it formed in 2015. Vendors in that forum include Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, and Apple. The group’s goal was to collaborate on some early 5G specifications and contribute those to the 3GPP.
Verizon received criticism from other operators that fear that its 5G specs will lead to fragmentation in the industry. However, the operator has said it believes the 5G specifications it released will move 5G closer to commercial deployment and will not cause fragmentation or lead to the deployment of pre-standardized 5G gear.