Verizon today revealed customer trials of 5G technology in five U.S. cities are set to begin in the second quarter, with pilots in 11 markets expected by the middle of the year.
Verizon noted trials in Ann Arbor, Mich., Atlanta, Ga., Bernardsville, N.J., Brockton, Mass., Dallas and Houston, Texas, Denver, Colo., Miami, Fla., Seattle, Wash., and Washington DC will all be live in the first half of this year, with launches coming courtesy of partnerships a mix of Verizon 5G Technology Forum partners, including Ericsson, Intel, Qualcomm, and Samsung.
Samsung said it is supporting deployments in five of the cities and noted its 5G systems have already been installed in those locations. The trials with Samsung are set to kick off in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington DC in April, with a fifth trial to begin in Michigan later in the second quarter, Samsung said.
Verizon said the locations were chosen to provide a variety of terrain, neighborhood layouts, and population density.
“The tremendous progress we have made with Verizon in commercializing 5G represents our companies’ mutual focus on delivering the highest level of innovation to our customers,” Woojune Kim, Vice President of the Next Generation Business Team at Samsung Electronics said. “The 5G systems we are deploying will soon provide wireless broadband service to homes, enabling customers to experience cost-competitive, gigabit speeds that were previously only deliverable via fiber.”
According to Samsung, the company’s 5G Access Units have been installed throughout the cities’ business and residential neighborhoods. The trials will utilize 28 GHz spectrum and advanced beamforming technology, and the Access Units will link radio signals to a virtualized core network that is set up within Verizon’s data centers. The Samsung 5G system is designed to be upgradable to support 3GPP standards for New Radio and Next-Generation Core once they become available, Samsung indicated.
The system will deliver fixed wireless access – including wireless broadband and over-the-top or voice-over-IP service – to customers through 5G connectivity in order to gauge user experiences, evaluate the performance of 5G technologies, and help streamline the delivery of millimeter wave 5G across various environments, Samsung reported. The company said it will be providing pre-commercial in-home 5G router devices to trial participants. These devices will look similar to a WiFi router or set top box and will receive the 5G signal that can then be connected to the customers’ WiFi access point via an Ethernet cable to provide broadband service to the home.
“We are excited to deliver the first end-to-end 5G connectivity in the United States with Verizon,” Youngky Kim, president and head of the Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, commented. “This represents a major leap forward in offering 5G fixed wireless access to consumers. The 5G challenges we will address, and the customer feedback we receive will help lay the foundation for future business models and customer applications.”
The customer trials come on the heels of Verizon’s pre-commercial 5G testing, which began in December. Those trials spanned 10 different locations across the country and utilized 28 GHz spectrum leased as part of the carrier’s deal with XO Communications. During those tests, Verizon said the 5G system demonstrated “multi-gigabit throughputs at radio distances of up to 1,500 feet (500 meters) across each of the different environments selected for the customer trials.”
Samsung said the trials it is participating in now are currently targeted to run until end of June 2017 with the potential to extend on a quarterly basis into second half of 2017.
But Verizon isn’t the only carrier planning to conduct 5G trials this year. Back in January, AT&T indicated it will be conducting fixed and mobile 5G trials in the second half of the year in partnership with Qualcomm and Ericsson. More on that here.