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Verizon 5G is coming to homes later this year, but when will it go mobile?

Several markets in the U.S. will get residential 5G service, but 5G-enabled phones are still a way off.

Published onApril 25, 2018

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Verizon 5G has been in the works for a while now, the carrier previously confirming plans to bring 5G connectivity to several markets in the latter half of 2018.

Now, the network has started installing commercial nodes for fixed 5G networks in at least three markets, CFO Matt Ellis said during a conference call for its Q1 2018 results (h/t: Light Reading). The 5G technology in these regions will be based on Verizon’s own 5GTF standard rather than the official 3GPP New Radio (NR) standard.

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“We are quickly approaching the initial launch of our residential broadband service later this year which will be the first use case of a broader 5G strategy,” Ellis said during a conference call for its Q1 2018 results.

Aside from Sacramento, the company hasn’t named any other markets for a commercial launch. Instead, it noted that between three and five markets are set to go live by the end of the year.

Don’t expect Verizon 5G on phones yet

The service is intended for home use — for computers, connected TVs etc — rather than on your phone, harnessing 5G hotspots and other equipment to connect to the service instead.

Nevertheless, when Verizon 5G services do come to phones, the carrier will target urban areas first. “And we will be ready to launch that as soon as the OEMs have handsets available with 5G chipsets in them,” Ellis said. The first 5G-capable phones are expected to surface in 2019.

The carrier plans to switch from its own 5G standard to the industry-backed 3GPP NR standard once the latter is up and running. But when will the official version be available?

“…obviously over time we want to move to the standards-based CPE (customer premises equipment). And we expect to be getting that CPE based off of the NR standard probably in 2019,” Ellis said.

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Aside from the sheer speed, low latency and potential use-cases for 5G, another benefit will be reduced network congestion. So your Instagram uploads should be a little faster at sports games, tightly packed apartments, and other mass gatherings.

All signs point to 5G for your phone coming next year. Here’s hoping the first phones aren’t battery hogs like the HTC Thunderbolt was.

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