Verizon on Tuesday named Texan metropolis Houston as the third city set to benefit from the company’s experimental 5G network later this year, having done so several months after already confirming Sacramento and Los Angeles will be receiving the same treatment in the coming months. The project came to life following negotiations with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and a number of other officials from the city administration, with both parties presenting the development as yet another step in their years-long mutually beneficial relationship.
Verizon’s 5G network will initially be deployed in Houston as part of Mayor Turner’s “Complete Communities” program meant to address the lack of resources in certain areas of the city and fairly distribute investments across its urban area. Verizon will hence first focus on serving under-resourced neighborhoods before looking to deploy 5G connectivity on a citywide basis. The New York City-based telecom giant said the project will ensure it’s the first wireless carrier in the United States to offer 5G connectivity in Houston, with its new Chief Executive Officer Hans Vestberg recently pointing to the fifth generation of mobile networks as the backbone of the company’s long-term strategy.
The 5G network that’s set to debut in Houston in the final quarter of the year will be of the fixed wireless access variety, meaning it will be meant to serve as an alternative to broadband Internet solutions. Verizon is planning to start deploying a truly wireless 5G network across the country in the first half of 2019, targeting national coverage by 2020. AT&T is the only stateside carrier that’s set to introduce a mobile 5G service before the end of this year but with no 5G-enabled smartphones being set to launch until 2019, the company’s customers will have to rely on “5G pucks” to take advantage of the new connectivity technologies in a hotspot-like manner. Verizon’s 5G FWA network will rely on equipment provided by Ericsson and Samsung, among other suppliers.