Verizon SVP and Chief Technology Architect Ed Chan on Thursday reiterated the company’s claims about leading the 5G segment, having confirmed the first commercial implementation of the fifth generation of connectivity will be debuted by the firm in the second half of the year. While speaking at CTIA-organized Race to 5G Summit in Washington DC, Mr. Chan asserted Verizon’s next major telecom technology will “make it feel like you have the cloud in your back pocket.”
The largest network operator in the United States will still be initially focusing on commercializing a fixed wireless access solution instead of a truly mobile one, though its 5G wireless service shouldn’t be far behind and is presently scheduled to begin rolling out in 2019. Verizon says its FWA testing is exceeding expectations and will provide consumers with a more convenient and better-performing alternative to broadband Internet access, though many industry watchers remain skeptical about the commercial feasibility of such solutions, predicting true 5G revenues won’t be unlocked until the next generation of mobile communications becomes available on a significant scale, whereas FWA is likely to remain a niche service category for the foreseeable future.
Verizon apparently doesn’t share the same sentiment, having repeatedly touted 5G FWA as a major development in the industry and one that will benefit both consumers and businesses. The New York City-based company is planning to offer such Internet access in three to five markets by the end of the year, whereas it’s timing its mobile 5G launch to coincide with the release of the world’s first 5G-enabled smartphones. According to recent predictions, such devices may become available for purchase in the U.S. less than a year from now, with Samsung being expected to make its Galaxy S10 series capable of communicating with the next generation of wireless networks, thus likely pioneering such technologies in early 2019.
The only other OEM that previously showed ambitions to release 5G-enabled smartphones in the first half of 2019 was ZTE but the future of the Chinese company’s mobile business is now highly uncertain after the Commerce Department hit it with a seven-year ban on purchasing or licensing any products or services from American companies over its violations of a 2017 settlement that itself was meant to put an end to its violations of U.S. trade sanctions imposed on Iran. Among other things, the prohibitive order means ZTE presently isn’t able to legally obtain Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips or license Google’s Android operating system, core components of most of today’s contemporary handsets.