5G and Beyond

Verizon Fixed 5G Tests to Top 3Gbit/s?

Verizon's home-rolled fixed wireless 5G radio spec could deliver speeds of greater than 3 gigabits per second to some lucky customers in 11 US cities during tests in the first half of this year.

The "pre-commercial select customer" trials will see Verizon deploy millimeter wave customer premise equipment (CPE) -- essentially a home router with an antenna that connects to pole-mounted radios. A video posted by Verizon says that CPE tests have achieved download speeds of around 3.6Gbit/s.

Verizon will begin offering the fixed service to pilot customers during the first half of 2017 in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Atlanta; Bernardsville, N.J.; Brockton, Mass.; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Miami; Sacramento; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. It is not yet clear how big the test sites will be, but Verizon has previously said it wants to test a variety of suburban and urban environments.

Ericsson AB and Samsung Corp. are test partners, roughly splitting the 11 cities between them. The tests are all taking place on 28GHz spectrum.

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Of course, lab trials usually deliver higher download speeds than field trials with customers. But Verizon will be learning lessons that could see it deliver an ultra-fast fixed wireless service commercially in 2018 or 2019.

As I reported back in 2015, this has been Verizon's initial goal with 5G since it got involved with the technology. The idea being that Big Red might be able to leverage 5G to get rid of more of its costly old copper connections. That seems like a distinct possibility with the regulatory-lite atmosphere of the Trump administration. (See 5G: Verizon's New Home Invasion? and Trump & Tech: Round 1.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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