Verizon on Thursday opened up preorders for Samsung’s first 5G smartphone, the Galaxy S10 5G, and also disclosed 20 additional cities where the carrier will launch mobile 5G services this year.
Verizon has promised to bring mobile 5G to parts of more than 30 U.S. cities in 2019, including the first launch cities of Chicago and Minneapolis, where 5G was deployed earlier this month. The newly named cities slated for Verizon’s 5G deployment are: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, Providence, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Washington DC.
While Verizon already offers a Motorola smartphone that becomes 5G-capable when paired with a clip-on module that supports millimeter wave spectrum bands, the Galaxy S10 5G is the first true 5G smartphone to launch in the U.S. Smartphones capable of supporting sub-6 GHz frequencies for 5G are expected to hit stores later this year.
Speaking at the Brooklyn 5G Summit in New York on Thursday, Verizon VP of Technology Development & Planning Bill Stone touted Verizon’s 5G progress and capabilities the next-generation technology will bring, but acknowledged it’s still the early days of 5G. He told the audience that momentum must be maintained to continue developing technologies that are currently being deployed.
“There are no shortcuts to doing this right,” Stone said, adding that the potential to over-hype and under deliver on 5G promises is a temptation “the whole industry must resist.”
Verizon first launched its fixed wireless 5G home broadband offering in four cities last year using the carrier’s 5GTF specification, which Stone said provided the opportunity for deep learnings about the new service. Verizon’s mobility launches will be based on the 3GPP 5G NR specification and utilize 28 GHz and 39 GHz millimeter wave spectrum.
Some journalists performed speed tests nearing 600 Mbps on Verizon’s 5G network in Chicago, though connectivity was reportedly spotty. Stone said Verizon eventually expects to get to 10 Gbps with 5G and also be able to serve many more users on dense parts of the network like in airports or stadiums. The total volume the network can process will also increase. Stone said the company is projecting more than 10 TB of data will be able to be transferred over the 5G network on a per kilometer basis.
In addition to increased volume, 5G will also support a much higher density of users, Stone said. He indicated 5G will support 1 million users per square mile and expects 10-100 times more connected devices per square kilometer, allowing cities to tap into 5G for things like smart street lights and parking solutions.
Stone reiterated that Verizon has a strong foundation in its 4G LTE network, and said 5G also requires a combination of dense small cell nodes, sizable spectral bandwidth from millimeter wave, extensive network virtualization and edge computing capabilities, and new 5G devices.
He told the audience that this is the very beginnings of 5G, but that Verizon is seeing great performance with new devices in the field in the order of 1 Gbps today and that will continue to evolve and improve.
Stone named dynamic spectrum sharing as a feature Verizon is working on with key partners to help improve 5G and bring additional spectrum bands into play going forward.
“We’ve seen how successful features like carrier aggregation has been with LTE,” Stone noted. “And we’re expecting to see those things on 5G.”
Earlier this week on the company’s first quarter earnings call, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg named dynamic spectrum sharing as a next step in the operator’s strategy, coming into play in 2020.