Driving Low Latency: VZW Prez Talks 5G Apps & More

The president of Verizon Wireless laid out some of the operator's expectations Wednesday morning for the introduction of its mobile 5G network over the next few years, including some of the new applications that might help derive revenues from into the next decade.

Naturally, the president and EVP of Verizon Wireless , Ronan Dunne, mainly talked about the expectations for the new mobile service at Oppenheimer 21st Annual Technology, Internet & Communications Conference, even if he wasn't hugely specific on numbers and stats for his analyst audience. Verizon's mobile service is slated to start early in 2019, and the operator has very recently revealed its first 5G module for a smartphone. (See Verizon Confirms Mobile 5G in 'Early' 2019 and Verizon's First 5G Mobile Device? It's a Snap!)

Dunne said that Verizon will track the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 's mobile 5G New Radio specification -- as it has with LTE 4G -- starting with Release 15 in 2019.

"Over the next three years there will be deployments of 15, 16, and 17," said Dunne, taking the updates through 2021, he added.

The first visible benefit for mobility, will be "significantly enhanced mobile speeds," Dunne noted. Verizon has reported download speeds of 1 gigabit -- and over -- for fixed wireless tests, but hasn't revealed mobile test reults for the new 5G standard yet. Dunne mentioned the oft-cited "ten times" network speed expectation on the call, Verizon's average LTE download speed now is 20.56 Mbit/s, according to OpenSignal.

Next, Dunne said that "network slicing" and low latency would start to become important, facilitating Dunne called "one-to-one networking," where Verizon could assign specific capabilites to a network slice to enable a particular service or application. Specifically, Dunne cited the possibility of delivering "burst speeds," 100 times over "what we think of today," Dunne said.

Dunne also gave a specific example of network latency, noting that on a 4G network, an autonomous vehicle braking sharply could take "4 feet" to come to a stop. "On 5G, the vehicle has moved 4 inches, " Dunne stated, noting the importance of latency of "below 10ms" in such applications.

Among the applications Dunne expects 5G will enable are Internet of Things, industrial management and automation, personal healthcare monitoring, gaming and financial trading.

Dunne cites the possibility of "a trading experience on your mobile faster than the wire" with 5G.

Meanwhile, Dunne calls the fixed wireless "residential broadband" using Verizon's own 5GTF specifaction, "an offshoot" of the mobile netork, which will use the same infrastructure, with software updates. "It's an expansion of our addressable market outside of our North-Eastern footprint," he said.

Verizon has said that it will launch four fixed markets this year. Fifty markets are expected in 2019. Eventually, Verizon hopes to pass 32 million homes with fixed 5G. (See Analyst: Verizon's Fixed 5G Is a Loss Leader for Mobile.)

"The opportunity for me is to un-cable the cable guys," Dunne said.

Analysts in the brief Q&A session asked Dunne whether consumer would be able to self-install the 5G antennas and routers needed for the 1-Gigabit service. This is crucial because it will cut the truck rolls for Verizon and potentially enable them to cut costs on installation. (See Nokia Bell Labs & Verizon Stretch Fixed 5G to the Home.)

"We absolutely expect that, over time, that it will be self-install," Dunne said.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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