Verizon is launching the first 5G network in the world for four cities in the United States. The network is based on Verizon’s 5G Tracking Forum (TF) standard rather than the mobile industry standard 3rd Generation Partnership Project or 3GPP’s, so what does this mean for 5G and when will it be available for everyone in the U.S.?
Here is what I want to know:
Q: Everyone is promoting 5G, the fast download speeds, its ability to stream ultra-HD video on any device. So, when can Joe Consumer expect this to be available?
I assume the carriers will provide lofty goals of between 2-4 years depending on a number of factors such as cell deployment, device availability and government funding. The stars need to align for 5G to be available to the masses and we must ask whether we are ready to embrace it. Do we have the infrastructure, the devices and the funding to support widespread 5G adoption?
My answer: I’m hopeful.
Q: And what’s 5G going to cost?
With the going rate of devices on the market, costs could range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands from any one of the big handset makers. These devices function well with 4G, which quite frankly is good enough for the average consumer. However, for 5G speeds, you’re going to have to pay to play. Then there’s the question about television service: Will 5G require an upgrade for better TV viewing? If so, then tack on a couple hundred dollars.
My answer: No matter when it arrives on Main Street, moving to 5G will likely cost the consumer a pretty penny.
Q: Who’s going to get service first?
The first cities that Verizon plans to launch 5G in are Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston and Indianapolis. After that, it’s likely to hit major metropolitan areas before it rolls out to suburbia. Networks need to be tested in areas with a dense population of people using multiple devices to see whether the network can handle all the connectivity. Devices can range from cars, in the not-so-distant future, to household appliances and smartphones already heavily in use. That being said, if you live a rural part of the country where satellite is the only option, that could just be the case for the near-term future.
My answer: The Big City nearest you or Small Town USA—it’s a toss up!