Verizon Hits 1-Gig+ in 5G Trials, Eyes Early Applications

Verizon has pushed data rates over 1 Gbit/s in some of its 5G field trials and is looking at mobile hotspot and fixed wireless as some of the earliest applications for the new wireless technology.

Talking to Light Reading after his keynote at the annual Brooklyn 5G event from New York University, Adam Koeppe, VP of Technology Planning for Verizon, gave us an update on the field trials and where the operator is hoping to take the technology.

Verizon has seen data rates of "a gigabit a second or higher" in its field trials, Koeppe says. Verizon is now testing 5G in eight or nine locations around the US, he says. (See Verizon Will Pilot 5G Fixed Wireless in 2017.)

It is testing initial equipment at 15GHz, 28GHz, 39GHz and 64GHz, using infrastructure from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Samsung Corp. "Most of it is focused on 28GHz," Koeppe says. (See Verizon & Partners to Field Test 5G in 2016.)

These are fixed wireless tests at the moment because that's what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's rulings currently allow the frequencies to be used for. Koeppe, however, describes the operator as "very excited" at the speed at which the FCC is moving to open up these centimeter and milimeter wave bands for 5G. (See Sohn: Wheeler's FCC Not Slowing Down .)

One of the technical issues that Verizon and its technology partners is facing is shrinking down the equipment for 5G, Koeppe said earlier in his keynote. This -- along with the spectrum Verizon wants to use being currently allocated for fixed wireless -- is what is driving Verizon to look to immobile applications in the first wave of 5G.

It's likely that some of the early use cases will be fixed wireless and mobile hotspots," Koeppe says. (See Verizon Will Pilot 5G Fixed Wireless in 2017.)

With a gigabit or more on the downlink that could enable Verizon to expand what it does with 5G broadband considerably. "That opens up a lot of possibilities," Koeppe says.

Verizon currently has a 4G LTE broadband service that used to be called "Home Fusion" and is now called something even more boring. Verizon typically offers it as a broadband alternative for rural users who can't get cable to their homes. (See Verizon Takes LTE to Rural Homes.)

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our 5G content channel here on Light Reading.

Even if the FCC doesn't manage to follow through its promises to open up 28GHz and other spectrum for mobile 5G usage, the band is presently allocated for limited-range fixed wireless applications. Verizon could potentially start using leased 28GHz spectrum from XO Communications, which it bought for $1.8 billion in February, and it has the option of buying 28GHz licenses from NextLink by 2018. It could potentially launch a fixed wireless service using the spectrum. (See Verizon Takes LTE to Rural Homes and Verizon Bags XO for $1.8B.)

"We'd like to get to a point in 2017 where we have some type of friendly consumer trial or beta," Koeppe says.

It's been a little bit of an open secret in the industry that Verizon was considering fixed broadband applications for 5G. Light Reading first reported in November 2015 that the operator was looking at some very different use cases for early 5G. (See 5G: Verizon's New Home Invasion?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

COMMENTS Add Comment
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DanJones 4/25/2016 | 1:10:38 PM
Re: 5G Way too early for them to be able to deliver that kind of info yet. I would imagine the pilot will help them discover initial cost of acquiring the customer. And of course early 5G service and CPE is likely to be expensive, just going on how 4G went.
KBode 4/25/2016 | 1:00:28 PM
Re: 5G Well I figured fixed would be a very big part of this given their almost-outright-disdain for upgrading aging DSL lines. I'm less interested in the speed of these offerings as I will be the price point and just what kind of usage caps more efficient 5G networks will deliver. Price is going to be hugely important if Verizon really is eyeing a fixed-line rural broadband alternative. 
DanJones 4/25/2016 | 11:54:15 AM
Re: 5G They didn't specify fixed or mobile in the original claims. People assumed mobile but we knew they were looking at fixed for 5G too.
DanJones 4/25/2016 | 11:49:59 AM
Re: 5G McAdam did at some point say commercial launch in 2017 I believe, he's always very, er, optimistic with launch schedules though, hahahaha!
KBode 4/25/2016 | 9:45:49 AM
5G I though Verizon originally tried to claim that 2017 would see some kind of formal launch of 5G? Now it's just a fixed-wireles trial? Did they backpeddle at all on this or am I just misremembering their original claims?
KBode 4/25/2016 | 9:45:08 AM
Re: Fixed 5G? A way to help VRZ cut out more copper? Growth is saturated in both wireless and wireline, and there's only going to be more competitive pressure to compete on price, so they're hoping that flinging ads at Millennials is their best path forward. Problem is, turf protectors tend to not be particularly innovative, so jumping into a new market to compete with Silicon Valley could be seppuku.
DanJones 4/23/2016 | 1:50:49 PM
Re: "STRP" just had their NYC 5G licenses renewed Er, is it incorrect then?
DanJones 4/22/2016 | 7:56:40 PM
Re: "STRP" just had their NYC 5G licenses renewed Oh yeah, XO holds 91 28GHz LMDS licences in the US. Still currently only allowed to be used for fixed wireless applications.
DanJones 4/22/2016 | 4:44:15 PM
Re: "STRP" just had their NYC 5G licenses renewed I do know that the Straightpath can't hold 5G licenses, because a VRZN executive told me yesterday that the FCC still rules that 28GHz is fixed wireless use only. That could change soon enough, and then, no doubt, the company could become valuable. As it stands nobody knows exactly when that will happen.
MikeP688 4/21/2016 | 9:37:28 PM
Re: Fixed 5G? A way to help VRZ cut out more copper? As I saw your column and Carol's column, I wonder what is driving Verizon especially as they're also apparently in the "lead" to gobble up Yahoo.    Are they getting too big for their own good?   
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