In the United States, Verizon has been – for some time – the largest provider of wireless services for cell phones, and have been instrumental in shaping the landscape. Pushing ahead with 4G when it was first being introduced in the West, as well as now testing 5G technologies, Verizon has had a big hand in shaping today's wireless market. They are, of course, also a big name in wireline technologies that many households and business across the US rely upon to access the Internet and run their businesses. Recently, around 40,000 of Verizon's employees went on strike, and are still on strike. However, these employees were related to the wireline side of Verizon's business, and Big Red is more than keen to reiterate that the wireless side of things is still running smoothly, and that work on 5G is still carrying on as normal.
Chuck Hamby, a Verizon Spokesperson has said that "For the Verizon Wireless network teams, it's business-as-usual: we are still working every day to activate 4GLTE cell sites where needed, to deploy small-cell technology in urban areas that need the boost" and that they're "even continuing to test 5G technology". We know that Verizon is keen on being first with 5G once the technology has matured enough, but the network hasn't given up on 4G LTE just yet, and Hamby goes on to state that Verizon is also continuing to add "XLTE across the country and reach 500+ U.S. markets with that technology".
These 40,000 employees are represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) unions and have been on strike since April this year. The strike came about as the result of negotiations not succeeding, and these workers have been without a contract since August of 2015. How much longer the strike will last for is unclear, but Verizon have warned that some sort of damage could be done to their financial figures if it continues for too much longer. In terms of 5G testing, the network's FiOS network is probably carrying much of the weight in terms of backhaul, and while these tests won't represent a massive strain right now, this could change in the future, and without a full staff of wireline workers, things could go wrong in more intensive or real world tests.