Verizon & Partners to Field Test 5G in 2016

Verizon has put a big stake in the ground for 5G, committing to launch field trials of the next-generation network with its partners in 2016.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) feels a "tremendous sense of urgency to push forward on 5G and mobilize the ecosystem," according to the carrier's executive vice president and chief information and technology architect, Roger Gurnani. It wants to lead in 5G as it did with 4G LTE. That's why the carrier plans to join forces with its partners to begin technology field trials next year.

Those partners include Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Samsung Corp. .

Led by Verizon, the companies kicked off a 5G Technology Forum last month where they established working teams to "ensure an aggressive pace of innovation" on 5G. They are all working in 5G network environments that Verizon calls sandboxes in its Waltham, Mass., and San Francisco Innovation Centers to build 5G apps. Verizon says the Forum will also include support from US-based venture capital groups focused on emerging technologies. (See Network Slicing Key to Nokia's 5G Framework and Verizon Builds Driverless Cars Their Own City.)

"Each partner is a leader, but together we represent more than $50 billion in annual research, development and technology investments and thousands of patents," Gurnani said in a prepared statement. "Collectively we are bringing to bear an incredible amount of resources and intellectual capital to introduce the next generation of wireless technology."

For more on 5G, visit the dedicated 5G section here on Light Reading.

While the US -- and Verizon, specifically -- was the leader for LTE network development, most of the impetus behind 5G has come from Asian operators. By working together and starting early, Verizon is hoping it can bring 5G innovation back to the US. (See Verizon Trumpets Network Densification Plans and Q&A: SK Telecom Talks All Things 5G.)

Commercial 5G deployments are expected across the globe after 2020, but Gurnani tells CNet he expects some level of commercial deployment to begin in the US in 2017. In South Korea, commercial networks are expected in time for the 2018 Olympics. (See 5G: Meet the Influencers and You Can't Spell 5G Without LTE.)

5G promises to bring about 50 times the throughput of LTE, extremely low latency and the bandwidth necessary to support mobility and the Internet of Things across industry verticals. Importantly, it should also enable new business models to justify the expense of the new network. (See Lines Get Drawn in Road to 5G, 5G: What Is It & Why Does It Matter? and Heavy Reading Q&A: Getting to the Heart of 5G .)

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

steve q 9/10/2015 | 10:27:26 PM
Re: 5G timeline It nice that verizon is pushing into the 5g market area but most things are leaning into the wifi area. With the hope that those city and towns that a r e looking for fois that may stop the outcome of 5g.
DHagar 9/8/2015 | 9:30:46 PM
Re: 5G timelines Sarah, these sound like smart moves on Verizon's part.  They are positioning themselves well with solid partners, collaboration in the new platform, and building the capacity for 5G.  If they do this well they should be a strong player going forward.  I think that will provide the credibility they are seeking.

Do you see any other strong competitors that will be a threat to them in this timeline?
Mitch Wagner 9/8/2015 | 3:56:03 PM
Re: 5G timeline Will Verizon's 5G work with existing iPhones and Android phones, or does it require specialized hardware and software?
Sarah Thomas 9/8/2015 | 12:03:01 PM
5G timeline It's great to see Verizon taking a leadership position on 5G as it did on 4G. Gurnani's claims of commercial deployments in 2017 seem a little audacious to me though. The official press release said "after 2020," so perhaps he was just posturing to CNET.

My guess is that they'll have a very small market up with one of 5G's many technologies in it in 2017, but no real 5G network to speak of for many years after that. Either way, the trials and progress are great to keep the US on the cutting edge.
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