Verizon leads 5G race with US network launch
Mon 1 Oct 2018
Just as network providers around the globe prepare for 5G network trials, Verizon has gone ahead and launched its commercial 5G network in the US.
Verizon 5G is the world’s first commercial 5G network, heralding in a new era of superfast mobile connectivity. The network has launched in portions of Sacramento, as well as Houston, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles.
In theory, its predecessor – 4G (or LTE) – offers speeds of up to 50 megabits per second, but even the fastest documented speeds plateau at around 45, with most users reporting significantly less. At full tilt, 5G is capable of a blazing fast 10 gigabits per second.
For consumers, this means streetside 4K video streaming, but technologists and businesses are also relying on 5G to integrate the explosion of new IoT devices around the world. 5G networks are adept at handling many devices simultaneously.
5G installation is also the next step in the road to smart cities. A recent report from O2 Telefónica claimed UK councils could save £2.8 billion annually with the installation of smart lighting, refuse collection, and social care powered by 5G.
Despite the hype, critics have warned that 5G will bring with it many challenges. Upper range speeds of 10 gigabits per second operate at high frequencies that cover much narrower ranges than 4G, and are easily interrupted by buildings and windows.
Sacramento worked with Verizon for the past year to install small cells on more than 200 utilities poles and street lights. The telco giant says its network will attract investment, expand digital access, and increase the city’s appeal as an autonomous vehicle test site.
Jonathon LeCompte, Pacific Market president for Verizon spoke of the benefits 5G will bring to the city.
“We believe this vision will pay off big for the city, attracting new investment, businesses and next-generation services for residents,” he said.
The city’s CIO Maria MacGunigal said the arrival of 5G will ‘change the technology landscape in Sacramento forever’.
Across the Atlantic, Vodafone begins its 5G UK trials this month. The trials will roll out to seven UK cities before hitting the rural areas of Cornwall and the Lake District in 2019.