Regional carrier C-Spire has quietly launched what it calls a "5G Fixed Wireless Access" service in parts of Mississippi, but it is using proprietary equipment for the early service, not infrastructure based on the 3GPP specification.
"We have launched the service in several Mississippi markets for consumers and businesses," the operator's 5G Internet team told Light Reading in response to questions on Wednesday. The carrier will serve business districts in Clarksdale, Quitman and West Point with its new service, while residential neighborhoods in Brandon, Byram, Florence and Pearl are now live too.
"In addition, we are actively building out dozens of neighborhoods across the state, including the Horn Lake, Jackson, Madison, Olive Branch, Pearl, Richland, Saltillo, Southaven, Starkville and Tupelo markets," C-Spire said.
C-Spire is not using the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio specification for its fixed service. "C Spire is pursuing proprietary variants of 802.11 optimized to deliver against 5G Fixed Wireless Access requirements," the carrier said, while noting that it will continue to explore 3GPP 5G options.
Verizon, you may recall, has already said that it will use its own 5GTF radio specification for its initial fixed gigabit service in the US. Although Verizon has signed up multiple global vendors and operators to contribute to its specification and says it will move to the 3GPP spec as soon as possible. (See Verizon Issues First 5G Radio Spec, Verizon Migrating From Homebrew 5G, Enlists Qualcomm for Trials and America's First 5G? So Far: So Blah!.)
C-Spire is using Mimosa Networks Inc. and Siklu Communications Ltd. for infrastructure for the fixed service at 5GHz and "Sub 6GHz" frequencies. (See 5G-Focused Startup Siklu Gets $18M More and Mimosa Uncorks Cheap Broadband With Snap, Crackle & MicroPoP!.)
C-Spire says the fixed wireless system will deliver 120-Mbit/s downloads and 50-Mbit/s up over-the-air at $50 a month. This is hardly the gigabit speeds promised by most operators that say they will offer 5G, either fixed or mobile. It may, however, offer more than the 21-Mbit/s broadband speeds that even many of the fastest cities in Mississippi experience today.
Prospective customers can sign up here.
The C-Spire service is more proto-5G than the real thing, but it still offers some of the fastest broadband in the state of Mississippi.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading