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

It seems that Verizon wants to be the first to give US consumers a taste of 5G magic, with Big Red scheduled to begin early tests of 5G technology sometime in 2016.

Published onSeptember 8, 2015

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.