Verizon Brings Mobile 5G to Phoenix, Targets In-Building 5G With Boingo

Dan Jones
8/22/2019

Verizon is launching its tenth mobile 5G market in Phoenix, AZ, on Friday, as it looks to start building out indoor millimeter wave 5G services. Initial equipment supporting in-building 5G is expected to start to arrive towards the end of this year.

In Phoenix, Big Red says it will concentrate initial 5G outdoor service downtown, around landmarks such as the Phoenix Convention Center, the Talking Stick Resort Arena, the Orpheum Theatre and Chase Field. The service will also be available on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, AZ.

So far, this is much like Verizon's other nine launches in cities in the US, based around outdoor city center areas in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Providence, St. Paul as well as Washington, DC.

Verizon will work to bring its millimeter wave service indoors through a 5G partnership with Boingo, the company that rolled out WiFi systems in airports across the US and across the world, as well as 4G cellular distributed antenna systems (DAS). Verizon says that it is trying to "architect a hyper-dense network designed for large and small indoor spaces."

Because of the propagation characteristics of millimeter wave, high-band 5G doesn't penetrate buildings. This means high-band 5G devices can't access the gigabit downloads of the new technology inside office buildings, airports or malls.

Boingo's director of marketing communications Melody Walker told Light Reading Thursday that the deal is centered around its cellular and distributed antennas systems but wouldn't reveal any details about when and where Boingo will deploy 5G DAS technology. This is no surprise, since there is no standard yet for 5G DAS systems, nor any equipment ready to deploy it.

Adam Koeppe, SVP of network planning, said at a recent investor event that suitable equipment will start arriving "towards the end of this year." Initial 5G DAS deployments would be in large buildings such as stadiums and airports.

Verizon is launching its next 5G device, the Samsung Note 10+ 5G, on its network this Friday. For a limited period, the 5G Note will launch exclusively on Verizon's high-band 5G network. It will follow onto the AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile 5G networks later this year.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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