The CEO of Verizon says that technology will be available soon to allow millions more people in the US to connect to mobile 5G, but he won't say exactly when the operator will make it available commercially.
Hans Vestberg talked up the prospects of direct spectrum sharing (DSS), which supports both 4G and 5G connections on the same radio frequency, as part of a UBS event on Tuesday. The carrier has just finished trialing DSS in Richardson, Texas, with Ericsson and Qualcomm.
Vestberg says that the carrier will have DSS ready in the first half of 2020, but that it will be down to the "commercial side" of Verizon to set the exact timing for the launch of the technology. "When the market is there and the handsets are there," Vestberg explained.
DSS will need 5G radios installed on 4G lowband and midband spectrum to operate the 5G service. Sharing spectrum won't be applicable for Verizon's current millimeter wave highband network because no 4G networks operate in frequencies as high as 28GHz or 39GHz.
We don't yet know how well 5G will perform on shared 4G spectrum. It definitely won't offer the gigabit download speeds of mmWave. It seems more likely that it will operate in the 20-100Mbit/s range of early lowband 5G. All of this may depend on how much bandwidth Verizon has available on 4G and 5G shared channels.
Verizon's main LTE frequency is a 10MHz channel in 700MHz. It also uses subsidiary bands in the 1700MHz and 1900MHz ranges for 4G.
It should be noted that 5G gains much of its performance from the wide channels used for the technology. A 100MHz channel is recommended for 5G. DSS will place 5G in shared 10MHz and 5MHz channels along with 4G traffic.
You obviously can't expect stellar data rates from such a setup. Still, it may be one way that Verizon can go nationwide in the US with 5G.
- Verizon's Vestberg Sticks With mmWave for 5G
- Low-Band Will Take 5G Indoors, Just Not Quite Yet
- We're Still Not Sure How Verizon Is Going to Provide Nationwide 5G
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading