Need for speed: Verizon to test its 5G network in 2016

by: Andrew GrushSeptember 8, 2015
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It wasn’t too long ago that 4G LTE was a luxury, particularly for those outside of the US. These days, LTE is quite common even in most of the rural US, and has quickly found its way to a good portion of the international world as well. There are still plenty of markets around the US and the globe without blazing fast speeds, but it is amazing how quickly things have changed. Of course, technology doesn’t hold still, and so it is no surprise that Verizon is already preparing for the next jump in mobile broadband.

While 5G has yet to formally have its standard finalized, Verizon is preparing to field test its so-called 5G service sometime in 2016 and is currently working to create sandboxed 5G networks in Verizon’s Innovation Centers, located in San Francisco and Waltham, Massachusetts. Some of Verizon’s partners involved in developing the tech include Qualcomm, Nokia, Ericsson, Cisco, Samsung, and Alcatel-Lucent.

It could be many years before a wide rollout of Verizon 5G, but Big Red suggests that at least an early level of commercial deployment should happen sometime in 2017.

It’s unclear whether testing will begin in the first half of the year, or the second, but the bottom-line is that Verizon isn’t holding still. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before the competition reacts by highlighting their own 5G plans. Verizon was first to the LTE punch in the United States, and we have a feeling that AT&T and the others will do their best to try to prevent a repeat situation. The deadline to beat? It could be many years before a wide rollout of Verizon 5G, but Big Red suggests that at least an early (read: very limited) level of “commercial deployment” should happen sometime in 2017, providing all goes well.

So what can we expect from Verizon’s 5G tech? We don’t currently have all the specifics, but Big Red says we can expect “50 times the peak bandwidth and under 10 milliseconds of lag and headroom for many devices.” In short, 5G could quickly make Verizon’s already quite impressive 4G LTE network seem like a relic of the past.

What do you think of the quest for 5G? Do you find the current speeds to more than meet your needs, or do you have a thirst for faster Internet activity that just can’t be quenched? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

  • brice

    “4G LTE was a luxury, particularly for those outside of the US” really… where have you been ? so biased… Particularly for those not in the US, we already are well covered with 4G+. Also, initial 5G was already tested by Samsung a couple years ago and has been by Ericson this year…

    • Andrew Grush

      I said was, referring to years past, and honestly meant more to focus on emerging markets that have gradually been rolling their LTE support more frequently in the last year or two, after largely being relegated to 3G speeds. You are right though, I should have been clearer, my apologies. :)

  • Fifth313ment

    Actually MetroPCS has LTE before Verizon just an FYI.

    • ASYOUTHIA

      Wasn’t nationwide though. The handful of metropolitan areas don’t count

      • Fifth313ment

        First is first though really. This was before MetroPCS was bought by T-Mobile, so a small carrier rolling out 4G LTE before any of the big boys is amazing really! And although it was more like 3G on other carriers (except Sprint whose 3G has always, and still is, like a 56kbps modem.) Does anyone else know that MetroPCS customers are throttled behind T-Mobile customers?! It says it on the plans page of the MetroPCS site. That is the main reason I don’t switch here in South Florida as MetroPCS would be much cheaper.

  • domepiece

    I suspect this will be as battery efficient as 4G and 2K/4K displays are now. /s

  • Chizusyo

    I hope the data plans wont be more costly

  • E

    What about making they cost cheaper! How are we benefiting from being cheated out of our money because of their monopoly?

  • Fil

    Amazing speeds. Just think, you will be able to blast through your current 18 GB monthly data cap in less than 5 minutes. ChaChing!$!$!$!$! When 5G is ubiquitous, I can see dumping Comcast and streaming all my 4K content over a cell connection… except for having to pay $3800 per month at current rates.

  • Fil

    “US rank drops to 55th in 4G LTE speeds.” 5G can’t come soon enough.
    http://www.networkworld.com/article/2986155/mobile-wireless/us-rank-drops-to-55th-in-4g-lte-speeds.html