Lately, all of the talk in wireless has been about 5G. And for good reason. We are now at the point where 5G is inevitable, even though the standards for the next evolution of mobile internet has yet to be announced or even finalized – currently they are slated to be final by the end of 2019. Verizon has already started doing field tests of 5G at their headquarters in Basking Ridge, NJ and is expecting to roll it out in a few key markets before the end of the year. Verizon is also looking to pick up some spectrum to help out with 5G, and their latest spectrum deal is something that Dish Network is not a fan of.
Verizon has proposed a deal with XO Communications for their 28GHz and 39GHz spectrum bands. Dish is hoping that the FCC will deny this deal which is said to be worth about $1.8 billion. Dish Network says that allowing this deal to go through could have a negative impact on the competition. The fiber-optic network which XO Communications has, covers around 40 major US markets, which include about 1.2 million fiber miles. This deal would help the company's wireline business as well as their wireless business, and would decrease the payments made to fiber providers which provide service for Verizon Wireless outside of their own fiber network (known as Verizon FiOS).
These two bands that Verizon is looking to pick up from XO Communications are pretty important to 5G. Compared to 4G LTE, 5G uses higher band spectrum – which is why Sprint has wanted to keep their 2.5GHz spectrum instead of selling it off – higher band spectrum gives the network more bandwidth, although the reach isn't as great. Dish is afraid that if the FCC approves this bid from Verizon, that the competition for Verizon in the 5G space would suffer greatly. Verizon is still expecting the deal to go through, and that it would be approved in the beginning of 2017.
Verizon hasn't said much about their 5G network since having it set up at their headquarters in January. But according to their CFO, Fran Shammo, testing is going very well for the company.