In short: Verizon on Monday launched what it claims is the world’s first commercial 5G fixed wireless access network, making it available in select areas within Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Houston resident Clayton Harris became history’s first 5G customer, with the new network officially being advertised as 5G Home. The first three months of the service are free, after which existing Verizon customers with mobile plans pay $50 per month, whereas everyone else pays $70 on a monthly basis. The equipment and installation are free, with early adopters also being promised priority once Verizon’s first 5G mobile service becomes available. Three months of YouTube TV are also bundled with the service at no extra charge, together with a choice between a free Google Chromecast Ultra or Apple TV 4K.
Background: Verizon has been at the forefront of the 5G revolution in terms of both R&D and commercialization, with the company planning to add more cities to its newly launched network in the coming months. The company is expected to soon start advertising its next-generation offerings as “5Genius,” according to its recent activity in the IP segment unearthed by AndroidHeadlines last month. As an FWA service, the network serves as a broadband Internet alternative and doesn’t allow for cellular connectivity. A truly mobile 5G solution will start being deployed by Verizon and in early 2019, whereas AT&T claims it will already launch its mobile network this year. While AT&T has no intentions of introducing an FWA package of its own, T-Mobile promised to do so if the FCC and DOJ allow it to merge with Sprint, despite the fact it previously mocked fixed wireless as a half-measure.
Impact: Verizon technically won the 5G race in the U.S., though AT&T is still on course to win the mobile one. Ultimately, these experimental solutions won’t significantly affect the state of the wireless market in the country and “true” 5G networks that are both mobile and offer national coverage won’t be available until 2020.