Verizon plans to roll out 5G wireless home broadband internet services to consumers across four US cities by Q4 2018, starting with Los Angeles, and Sacramento, according to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, per CNBC. The carrier plans to offer 5G with Fixed Wireless Access, which provides connectivity via wireless mobile networks rather than cable.
By the time the network rolls out, Verizon expects to have over 1,000 cell sites up and operating on the global standard. With the fixed wireless network, Verizon is aiming to be the first US carrier to officially launch commercial 5G technology. The carrier plans to announce the remaining two cities to receive 5G later this year.
The move into fixed 5G will better position Verizon to compete with AT&T, Alphabet, and rival cable providers, such as Comcast and Charter Communications. It's often the case that US consumers have access to only one broadband provider, which is typically a cable company. By expanding into the home internet market, Verizon could emerge as a new competitor and potentially increase its subscriber audience with its 5G network.
Verizon's early foray into fixed 5G will help to simplify the transition to a mobile 5G environment in early 2019, according to McAdam.Verizon has a multipurpose network that it's using to launch both fixed and mobile 5G, and it's expected to allow the carrier to offer lower prices and expand its customer base. This is important because AT&T is planning to release mobile 5G networks in a dozen markets by late 2018.
But Verizon's decision to wait till 2019 to move into mobile makes sense, because though the first 5G mobile networks in the US are rumored to roll out sooner than later, smartphones that can operate over 5G networks will be a bit further off. They'll likely be released throughout 2019 and 2020, and mostly be available on the premium end of devices.
As the industry pivots toward the next generation in networking, 5G technology will pave the way for mainstream adoption of emerging technologies. Thanks to faster speeds and edge computing resultant of 5G, mobile networks will be able to more effortlessly handle the heavy data transfer for VR and AR digital properties. 5G will also enable more VR and AR processing to be completed at the edge of the network, thereby reducing latency.
The low latency of 5G networks will also power automated cars and enable them to react to situations in real time. And the efficiency and far reaching ability of 5G networks make it ideal to handle trillions of IoT devices that will come into the network over the next 10 years.
This article originally ran on businessinsider.com.