Verizon has announced it will launch 5G services in three to five US markets next year. 5G uses radio signals, rather than copper or fiber cables, to provide customers with high-speed internet access.
Verizon’s first commercial launch is planned to be in Sacramento, California in the second half of 2018.
Verizon has successfully trialed 5G residential applications in 11 markets in 2017. According to a statement from the company, the commercial launch is based on customer experience and on Verizon’s confidence in new technology powered by millimeter-wave spectrum. Verizon estimates the market opportunity for initial 5G residential broadband services to be approximately 30 million households nationwide.
AT&T is also testing 5G in several markets nationwide and expects to do standards-based deployments on roughly the same timeline as Verizon although details on the total costs for both carriers remain unclear.
5G connectivity has been a long time in coming. Carriers ran into hurdles testing the technology and have also had to work around regulatory concerns. More recently, however, the cost of millimeter wave technology has come down, making it possible for large-scale deployments. The Federal Communications Commission also passed new 5G rules last year which opened the door for trials and commercial deployments.
Carriers still face some hurdles at the state level with “small cell” rules. Small cell radios enable 5G networks by acting as a signal booster in high-density areas in order to make network access consistent across geographies. This technology is relatively new and not all states have laws on the books to allow for widespread deployment of small cell radios. As CivSource reported, Delaware recently passed a law allowing for small cells to be used statewide, but similar efforts in other states have run into opposition from residents and officials concerned about potential health effects.