Technically, 5G isn't supposed to be available for another few years. Seeing as the standards for the next evolution of wireless networks have not been finalized, and won't be until around 2019. But that hasn't stopped US carriers like Verizon and AT&T from getting 5G started, and even doing field tests. Verizon has been running their own 5G network at their headquarters in Basking Ridge, NJ since around January of this year. They are expecting to have their 5G network up and running in a few key markets by the end of the year. Today, the carrier made an announcement that is a big step towards getting 5G ready. And that is the fact that they have completed the 5G radio specifications.
What exactly does this mean? Well according to Verizon's blog post on the matter, the specification will provide guidelines for the carrier to test and validate some of the most crucial technology parts of 5G. "The development of the specification allows industry partners such as chipset vendors, network vendors, and mobile operators to develop interoperable solutions and contribute to pre-standard testing and fabrication" Verizon stated in their blog post. The company's vice president of Network Technology Planning, Adam Koeppe, also noted that this is a major milestone for the "development of a complete 5G specification."
Verizon will be continuing with their pre-commercial trials of 5G. The company stated that they already have these trials underway in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas. Verizon is also working with Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Samsung and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., all of which are part of the 5G Technology Forum with Verizon. They also expressed in their blog post that the goal of pre-commercial trials is to get 5G going and available quicker. Noting that they want to "accelerate the pace of innovation" for 5G.
While Verizon is already doing several trials of 5G around the country, they still don't expect to have 5G completely covering the country for a few more years. As was the case with 4G LTE a few years ago, it's going to take time to get 5G everywhere. And there will also be plenty of outages. If you were an early adopter of 4G LTE, then you probably know how often outages were occurring.