5G in the USA: Going Mobile
On the eve of Mobile World Congress, Verizon has announced its initial standards-based mobile 5G plans, meaning that all the major mobile operators in the US have now have a 3GPP-based mobile 5G network strategy in place.
Verizon, which was the first to launch a 5G-based fixed residential service with its "5G Home" in October 2018, will launch mobile services within the first half of 2019 in 30 cities, Verizon has not named these markets yet. (See Verizon's 5G Details: 30 Mobile 5G Markets in 1H19, MEC Launching This Year.)
Verizon said this week that its customers "will be the first" to get Samsung's new S10 5G this year. Samsung hasn't provided pricing or availability details yet; however, it promises more details at MWC next week. Initial phones are expected to support Verizon's preferred 28GHz millimeter wave 5G frequency. (See Samsung Announces First 5G Phones, Offers Few Other Details.)
So let's take a look at the latest 5G developments:
Blue flags indicate AT&T, red flags show Verizon, magenta for T-Mobile and yellow for Sprint. Expand, using the icon top right, to see a larger map and the carriers' overlapping cities.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)
What: Mobile 5G using the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) standard with fixed wireless 5G expected in 2020
Where: Parts of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio and Waco (2018)
Parts of Las Vegas, Nashville, Orlando, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose (2019)
When: Mobile 5G is being rolled out now
Frequencies: 2018 (& beyond): 39GHz; post-2020: Sub-6GHz Suppliers (known so far): Ericsson, Netgear, Nokia, Samsung Devices: Netgear Nighthawk 5G Anticipated download speeds: Theoretical peaks pegged at 1.2 Gbit/s, while actual speeds will be lower, according to AT&T Capex plan for 2018: 2019: $23 billion
- AT&T's New Nationwide, Mobile 5G Timeline
- 2019: Samsung Gets Busy With 5G in US
- AT&T's 5G Switches On in 12 US Cities, but Only for 'Early Adopters'
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) What: Mobile 5G using the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) standard Where: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles New York City, Phoenix and Washington, DC When: First half of 2019 Frequencies: 2.5GHz Suppliers (known so far): Ericsson, HTC, LG Electronics, Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm Devices: Smartphones and a 5G hotspot Anticipated download speeds: 250-300 Mbit/s (mobile) Capex plan for 2018: $5-$6 billion, 2019 expectations slated for FY Q4
T-Mobile US Inc. What: Mobile 5G using the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) standard Where: Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City and 26 other cities When: 5G will arrive in the first half of 2019 as compatible smartphones arrive, with a nationwide rollout to be completed in 2020 Frequencies: 600MHz, 28GHz, 39GHz Suppliers (known so far): Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung Devices: Smartphones Anticipated download speeds: 100-200 Mbit/s (mobile) Capex plan for 2019: $5.9-$6.1 billion
- T-Mobile to Test 5G 'Dual-Connectivity' With Vendors
- T-Mobile to Roll Out 5G in 30 US Cities in 2018
- T-Mobile Promises 'Nationwide' 5G in 2020 With New Spectrum
What: Fixed 5G using its home-grown 5GTF spec first, with mobile 5G using the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) standard coming first half in 2019
Where: Fixed: Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento
Mobile: 30 -- as yet unnamed -- cities
When: October 2018 (fixed), mobile (1H19), (Panama City: TBD) Frequencies: 28GHz Suppliers (known so far): Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung, Qualcomm Devices: 5G customer premises equipment and home routers, smartphones (with mobile 5G) Download speeds: 300 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s (fixed) Capex plan for 2019: $17 billion - $18 billion
- Verizon's Vestberg Mum on 2019 Capex but Ebullient on 5G Prospects
- Verizon Plans to Offer Samsung 5G Phone in H1 2019
- Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear
What does this mean in the real world?
The question about early millimeter wave-based mobile 5G networks is how much coverage they will provide. Fixed deployments have so far been been seen ranging over 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet. Suggesting that mobile deployments would require expansive infrastructure deployments to support mobile coverage. (See 5G: The Density Question and 5G4REAL: MWC19, 5G Handsets & Some Frequency Queries.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading