By Michelle Choi, an insider at Lease Advisors
Verizon announced that it will begin to test 5G network technology next year with the goal of full implementation by 2017, just five years after the debut of the Verizon 4G network. The industry giant began testing 4G in 2008, made the first 4G call in 2009, and launched its 4G network in 2010, but the planned rollout of 5G will cut that timeline in half. Other wireless industry carriers are on track to implement 5G networks by 2020, significantly later than Verizon.
Executive VP Roger Gurnani said, “5G is no longer a dream of the distant future. We feel a tremendous sense of urgency to push forward on 5G and mobilize the ecosystem by collaborating with industry leaders and developers to usher in a new generation of innovation.” 5G will be able to deliver 50x more capacity than 4G, allowing mobile devices to perform high-capacity tasks and stream or download high quality videos in seconds. VP of Network Technology and Planning, Adam Koeppe said Verizon’s goal is to test 5G technology on existing networks as soon as possible and be at the forefront of the advancements.
AT&T, however, had a few things to say after the announcement. AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie commented at the CTIA Wireless Industry trade show that carriers often over-promise and under-deliver with regard to new technology. He believes that the underlying technology of the 5G network is still developing standards and it is too premature to begin announcing the coming benefits to customers. “Let’s make sure that before we start hyping what it’s going to be, that those standards are agreed to,” Lurie said.
Verizon defended itself in response to AT&T’s criticism—“innovation happens when you’re willing to look at things a little differently than others, and you’re willing to put in the hard work to make your vision a reality,” a spokesperson from the company said. Ericsson’s Chief Strategy Officer Rimi Qureshi agreed with Verizon, stating, “We are all aligned with Verizon to ensure the success and leading position for the U.S.”
Whether Verizon or AT&T are right about the new 5G network will be determined in the coming years. With the prevalence of mobile devices, data demand, spectrum battles, and infrastructure deployment, wireless carriers are no doubt rapidly moving toward faster and more efficient networks. It is just a matter of time.