"We're going to be first and we're committed to being first," Chris Schmidt, executive director of device technology at Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), told us Monday. This will be using the initial 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (NR) specification.
Verizon will be moving to mobile "as soon as possible," Schmidt contends, but exactly when will depend on the device makers. Schmidt notes that several chipmakers have said that they will deliver a 5G modem later in 2018.
This puts Verizon in tight competition with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which expects to deliver a "mobile puck" and launch up to 12 mobile markets late in 2018. It might be merely a matter of weeks or months -- likely very late in the year from what Light Reading is hearing -- that determines which operator gets bragging rights for the first mobile 5G network in the US. (See 5G in the USA: Where We At?.)
Schmidt says that Verizon will be able to reuse the same towers and "generally" the same infrastructure from its fixed wireless deployments, which use its own 5GTF specification. "Obviously, there's going to be some infrastructure changes that need to happen," he allowed.
Verizon is planning to deliver three to five fixed 5G markets, starting with Sacremento, in the second half of 2018. Schmidt wouldn't give any more details on the other markets yet.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading