Verizon: we're going to start bringing you 5G NEXT YEAR (sort of)

Telco mum on public launch, but says field trials will start in 2016

A shot from Verizon's 5G video
Equipment from Verizon's new 5G testing facility

Verizon is planning to test its 5G wireless broadband network next year.

The US telecom giant said it would be working with a group including Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco, Qualcomm, and Alacatel-Lucent to launch a 2016 trial for technology that could power the network.

Verizon said it plans to have a pair of "sandbox" test networks housed in its offices in San Francisco and Massachusetts. Other companies can then test while developing hardware and software for use with 5G networks.

Little was given in the way of details on the network, and Verizon said nothing about whether the early trials could also mean its 5G network goes live for customers before the 2020 target date set by the ITU.

A Verizon spokesperson told The Register that the expected download speeds for the 5G network will be 250–600 Mbps, or 50 times that of the current 5–12 Mbps 4G network.

Verizon isn't giving too many details on what will be needed to upgrade hardware, though the spokesperson told El Reg that part of the test development will include research on building smaller cells and other ways of minimizing the pain of migration.

The company was also mum on spectrum use, though Verizon partner Ericsson has previously demonstrated a 5G network operating in the 15Ghz spectrum range.

Above speeds, Verizon is talking up the capacity potential of its 5G network. With the ability to handle 30–50 times as much traffic as 4G, the telco is touting 5G as a possible solution for the crunch from the growing number of connected devices and larger volumes of data.

As it stands, Korea is still hoping to have a trial 5G network to demonstrate when it hosts the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Tokyo is also aiming to offer a 5G network in and around the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020. ®


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