T-Mobile's top officials criticized Verizon earlier this week over missing its own 5G broadband deadline, with Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray saying even its current plan is "unrealistic" and Chief Executive Officer John Legere pointing out that the largest nationwide carrier originally promised 5G in 2016. Verizon told CNET it's pleased with its current progress on commercializing the next generation of mobile networks but didn't directly respond to T-Mobile's criticism, which is in line with its established practices.
The New Jersey-based mobile service provider previously planned on starting the deployment of 5G networks this year but has now moved that self-imposed deadline to the second half of 2018, having recently said it's looking to introduce the technology in Sacramento, California, and four other cities that are yet to be named. The company's testbed likely wasn't specified because no firm decision on the matter has yet been reached, some industry watchers believe. Mr. Ray's criticism of Verizon's 5G plans was mostly aimed at the company's reliance on the millimeter-wave technology, thus building on the firm's previous commitment to small cell-based 5G commercialization efforts. Both Verizon and AT&T are primarily pursuing fixed wireless technologies that utilize high-band spectrum and while T-Mobile was never outright dismissive of such solutions, it repeatedly said small cell sites and their potential 5G applications should be prioritized more than they currently are. Ultimately, only time will tell which approach ends up being more efficient and reliable in the long term, though broadband 5G isn't expected to be a hugely profitable endeavor for any carrier, some industry analysts believe, adding that only full-fledged wireless offerings will ultimately recoup the costs of 5G research, development, and deployment.
The commercialization of 5G is currently one of the most prevalent contention points among wireless carriers in the United States, though all of them are planning on delivering the next wireless revolution on a national level by 2020. Qualcomm recently said it expects 5G to be commercially available in early 2019, reiterating that the U.S. is one of the leading countries in this segment. South Korea is expected to commercialize 5G technologies next year and should be the first country to do so along with San Marino, whereas Japan should follow closely behind.