Verizon has launched what it claims is ‘the very first commercial 5G network on the globe’, switching on its new fixed-wireless service on Monday 1 October. While industry standards body 3GPP has yet to certify 5G technology for use in hardware, software, chipsets and devices – that milestone is expected to occur in Release 16 – Verizon says that the new network adheres to its own 5G TF (Technical Forum) proprietary standard.
5G Home is available in selected parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento. The service is priced at USD70 for new customers and USD50 for existing Verizon subscribers, and supports download speeds of up to 300Mbps.
Given the lack of standardisation, critics have been quick to pour scorn on the telco’s claims, however. Referencing the restrictive terms and conditions attached to the service, outspoken T-Mobile US CEO John Legere wrote on Twitter: ‘Verizon says, “There’s 5G and then there’s Verizon 5G”. What they mean is Verizon 5G is available… in tiny pockets of neighbourhoods… if you don’t have trees nearby… or appliances in your house… or walls…’.
TeleGeography notes that Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint all expect to launch mobile 5G networks in 2019, while AT&T Mobility insists that it will be able to introduce mobile 5G technology before the end of 2018.