Verizon's Chief Technology Officer, Hans Vestberg, was speaking at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit on Monday and spoke to the crowd about Verizon's network and about its future. Which is obviously 5G at this point. Vestberg talked about how the company is building a dynamic 5G network that would work with various 5G use-cases at the same time. But when asked about its small cell deployment, Vestberg refused to give an answer as to how many small cells the company has, saying that it's not an important indicator for 5G progress. Vestberg is right, in that instance. Seeing as small cells are about densifying the network, and that's not what 5G is about. 5G is about adding more capacity to the network.
Vestberg went on to talk about all the different tools that Verizon is using to build out its 5G network. Stating that Fiber is a crucial element for 5G, as well as spectrum. "Especially if you want to have the real 5G use cases, you need millimeter wave". Millimeter wave is something that AT&T and Verizon are talking up big, when talking about 5G, and thats because it is needed to add capacity nationwide.
Verizon is planning to launch fixed wireless 5G services in a handful of cities this year, with its mobile 5G launch occurring around six months afterwards. This is about the same time frame as other wireless carriers have given for launching 5G, though Verizon is doing a fixed wireless service first, which is what AT&T is also doing. This is because both carriers also have a fixed network and operates as an ISP, so it is able to have that kind of backhaul available. 5G is going to be available in a handful of markets from all four wireless carriers this year, but the real rollout won't start til around 2019 or 2020. Much like LTE when it first started rolling out, the early days of 5G are likely going to be pretty tough.