Major US carrier Verizon is looking to get commercial 5G networks going using fixed wireless technology in a few key markets by the end of next year, but according to CFO Matt Ellis, that is only the very beginning of the company's plans. Ellis called this upcoming move "the top of the first inning" when it comes to Verizon's plans for 5G expansion. He explained that 5G technologies all had multiple possible use cases, and Verizon is not content to merely explore a single one, being fixed wireless for business and dense residential services like apartment buildings. Ellis said that Verizon will begin to explore commercial deployment for 5G technologies using this avenue, and will branch out into more traditional services, along with new markets like the Internet of Things.
One of the key technologies that Verizon will be using in its long-term 5G expansion is millimeter-wave spectrum, commonly known as mmWave. While many organizations have already trumpeted the important of mmWave in the growth of 5G, Verizon in particular found that it exceeded expectations in both lab and real-world testing, which means that the company can do far more with it than planned. To put those exceeded expectations to numbers, in a test where Verizon was expecting a 5G test network to deliver gigabit speeds up to the 6th floor of a building, the high-speed network reached all the way to the 19th floor. This unexpectedly wide range and high power carry some very positive implications for carriers' plans to deploy 5G networks across large numbers of tightly-packed small cells. One of those implications is that Verizon has found about 30 million American households can be serviced my mmWave-based 5G technology in its current form.
Verizon has been busy running 5G trials in markets all across the nation in preparation for commercial deployment. While the 3GPP still has yet to release the official 5G specification, Verizon plans to deploy networks based on technology with vastly more potential than the LTE technologies being used on current modern cellular networks. Presumably, Verizon plans to structure the new network so that it can add in enhancements as needed to meet the official 5G standard once it's announced.