4G LTE may be fine, but it is clear that 5G is the next frontier as far as networks are concerned. That is why it is exciting to learn that Verizon plans to launch its first commercial 5G network in three to five cities by the end of next year.
According to Big Red, the rollout will start with Sacramento, California during the second half of 2018. It might seem like a peculiar choice, seeing how Sacramento is a decently-sized city, but it makes sense. Sacramento was one of 11 cities to have been home to Verizon’s initial 5G test earlier in 2017, so for the carrier to launch its 5G network in the city is a good way for Big Red to measure where it was and where it will be once it flips the switch.
Apart from initial location and timing, however, much is unknown about what the network actually looks like. Verizon says that the 5G rollout is based on its “confidence in new technology powered by millimeter-wave spectrum,” so Big Red is saying the right things, but we don’t know if its network will be based on the official 5G New Radio standard or will look like AT&T’s “5G Evolution,” which is based on an “improved” 4G network.
We also don’t know what the four other locations are, though Verizon said more information will arrive “at a later date.”
Broadly speaking, however, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to 5G networks, such as faster data connections, new avenues for industrial applications, and even helping to build widely-connected “smart cities.” There should also be a substantial increase in bandwidth, which will enable 5G networks to handle far more concurrent connections than 4G.
Verizon is far from the only company working on 5G, as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and many others are also working on rollouts of their own. Even so, the race is definitely on, and it’s only a matter of time until we get to try out 5G networks for ourselves.