Verizon named 20 additional U.S. cities that will get 5G, but a company spokesperson declined to say when those markets will be live. The carrier also reaffirmed its commitment to have 5G service in at least 30 cities by the end of this year, but without a committed timeline, the 20 additional cities named today may not be live for up to eight months.
Those next 20 markets include: Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Des Moines, Iowa; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas.; Memphis, Tennessee; Phoenix; Providence, Rhode Island; Salt Lake City; San Diego; and Washington, D.C.
During a keynote at the Brooklyn 5G Summit today, Bill Stone, vice president of technology development and planning at Verizon, said the operator’s network may reach more than 30 cities by the end of this year. He also said the operator’s fixed wireless 5G Home service will be introduced in the carrier’s first group of mobile 5G markets later this year. Verizon’s spectrum holdings in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands will be the “basis for our mobility markets … and those mobility markets will also be used for 5G Home in the future,” Stone said.
“We are effectively two years ahead of where projections said we would be in the rollout. … This is early days. We’re at the beginning. We need to continue to develop and improve the technology,” Stone said. “There are no shortcuts to doing this right. … The potential to overhype … and under deliver on the 5G promise is a temptation that the whole industry must resist.”
Hype and marketing battles aside, Stone shared some specific capabilities that Verizon intends to achieve with 5G on speed, traffic volume, and network density. “We’re expecting to get 10 Gb/s with 5G” and “we’re projecting over 10 terabytes of data that can be transmitted over a 5G network on a per-kilometer basis,” he said.
“5G will also support up to 1 million connected users per square mile,” and 10 to 100 times more connected devices per square kilometer compared to 4G, Stone explained. Verizon has also been testing handoff techniques to ensure its 5G network can maintain connectivity on devices traveling up to 500 kilometers per hour, which is one of the technology’s standards.
“While the move from 3G to 4G is significant, the move from 4G to 5G is nothing short of revolutionary,” Stone said, adding that it’s unfair to judge the merits of 5G based on network capabilities today. “At each point when we were going through a transition there was always a great deal of skepticism,” he said. “It’s going to evolve and continue to improve.”
Verizon’s mobile 5G network is delivering speeds “on the order of 1 Gb/s today,” Stone said. As carrier aggregation, network slicing, and the decoupling of software and hardware functionality reaches critical mass, speeds will improve greatly, he explained.
“Many parts of our existing 4G and 5G networks are already virtualized today,” including radio access networks, and the 5G core will be “fully virtualized from day one,” Stone said. Multi-access edge compute (MEC)capabilities will come to the network later this year, he added.
A Real 5G Phone?
Also, barring any last-minute surprises, Verizon will launch the first genuine 5G smartphone in the United States in three weeks. Verizon opened up preorders for the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and will begin shipping and selling the device in stores on May 16. As such and for the time being, the first 5G smartphone will only work in limited parts of Chicago and Minneapolis where Verizon launched its first standards-based mobile 5G service earlier this month.
The carrier says it will have an exclusive on the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G for a “limited time,” but it’s unclear how long that will endure before the window of exclusivity closes. AT&T has previously said it will release the device before June 21, so Verizon’s exclusive on the device could be a little more than a month long at most.