SCWS Americas: Verizon and AT&T 5G Roadmaps Differ on FWA vs mobile “5G”

Verizon has no plans for linear or on-demand (or any other form) of pay TV for its “5G” FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) based residential/Verizon Home broadband service, according to  Bill Stone, the company”s VP of technology development and planning.  Stone stated that in a question from this author (during the Q&A session after his second presentation) at the excellent SCWS Americas conference in Santa Clara, CA on December 5, 2018.  Instead, Verizon has a partnership with YouTube TV (first three months free) to provide OTT video to its FWA customers.   Verizon Home customers get a free Apple TV 4K or Google Chromecast Ultra (Internet TV adapters with HDMI connection to the customer’s TV) when they sign up for 5G Home service.

Stone also said that Verizon’s FiOS will continue to offer higher speeds than its 5G Home service, which will transition from its proprietary “5G TF” spec to 3GPP release 15 5G NR NSA (non stand alone) in the near future.   He told me privately that any wireless base station vendor that supports 5G NR would be able to interoperate on the carrier’s 5G FWA network (we don’t think so for many reasons).  Verizon’s 5G Home service is currently available in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

Stone noted with pride that the mega carrier continues to bolster its 4G LTE network with new technologies.  “LTE has a lot of runway left,” Bill said to the audience.

Verizon currently says that customers of its 5G Home service will receive download speeds of at least 300 Mbps.  A video was shown of satisfied customers who all got download speeds of 800 Mbps or higher.  The mega carrier said that speeds can range up to 1 Gbps depending on customers’ location in relation to the towers for the service.

Verizon currently charges new customers $70 per month for 5G Home service, but only $50 per month for existing customers (with 1st three months free) who also subscribe to the carrier’s $30/month mobile data plan.  Voice is offered along with high speed Internet access, but no pay TV is available as with FiOS.

“The peak data rates here in millimeter-wave will definitely increase,” Stone told the audience.  Verizon currently runs its 5G Home service in its 28 GHz licensed spectrum in 400 MHz channels. But he said the carrier has the ability to increase that spectrum allotment to 600 MHz and 800 MHz channels (Verizon owns huge amounts of millimeter-wave spectrum via its purchases of XO and Straight Path). Stone explained that expanding the service’s spectrum channels would both increase user speeds and increase Verizon’s network capacity.  Verizon will move from 400 MHz to 800 MHz, and that will result in the speeds and capacity available  would double as a result.

Currently, the antennas and receivers for Verizon’s Home broadband service are installed by “white glove” professional technicians.   In the future, the carrier is planning to offer a self-installation option for its 5G Home service.  “Over time the goal is to introduce the ability to drop ship equipment that the customer can install on their own,”

Stone said, without providing a timeline for such a move. tone touched on several other data points for its FWA home broadband service:

  • 50% of Verizon’s 5G Home customers do not subscribe to the operator’s mobile service.
  • The service can transmit 1 Gbps downstream up to 3,000 feet.
  • The millimeter-wave service works in conditions including rain, snow and non-line-of-sight scenarios. Indeed, Stone said some transmissions work better in non-line-of-sight scenarios than when customers are within sight of the tower, due to the fact that millimeter-wave transmissions can reflect off various objects in order to reach their intended destination.
  • Verizon’s 5G Home customers are switching to the carrier from a variety of other service providers, though no details were provided.
  • Verizon ultimately expects to expand 5G Home to 30 million households at some unspecified time in the future, though Dunne said the carrier may revisit that figure as the company’s rollout progresses.
  • Verizon won’t build any more locations with its 5GTF equipment, and will instead wait for 3GPP release 15 5G NR equipment to become available before expanding to additional neighborhoods and cities.  However, the implementation of 5G NR by vendors will initially be non stand alone (NSA), which means its dependent on a LTE core network and LTE signaling.  That may differ amongst wireless base station vendors as will the frequencies used for different 5G NR carrier networks.
  • Verizon is making significant progress toward implementing vRAN technology on its 5G network, working with its vendors—including Ericsson, Samsung and Nokia—to virtualize the lower layers of its network in addition to the upper layers. The process of virtualizing the baseband functions in the RAN is part of a broader trend in the wireless and wider telecom industry in which operators are increasingly looking to move away from expensive, dedicated hardware from traditional suppliers and toward general-purpose compute servers running (mostly) open source software.
  • Verizon remains interested in providing edge computing services, services he said the operator could sell to companies looking to provide offerings ranging from drones to autonomous vehicles.  Verizon’s efforts in edge computing stem from the carrier’s moves to densify its network and to virtualize parts of its network functions. Those efforts, Stone said, would create a foundation for Verizon to eventually run edge computing sevices for third parties.

5G Home is one of many services Verizon plans to offer via 5G network technology with mobile 5G (again, based on 3GPP release 15 “5G NR”o NSA) being the next “5G” offering.  When mobile “5G” is deployed in the 11st half of 2019, the Motorola moto z3 smartphone, paired with the 5G moto mod and a Samsung 5G smartphone will be available.  So will an Inseego 5G hotspot that can access Verizon’s mobile network.

Addendum:  5G is one network, multiple use cases, Verizon CEO says

Last week at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg touted the carrier’s 5G home residential broadband service as complementing its wired Fios offering while extending the ability to provide a wireless alternative to home connectivity. While the fixed wireless access service is only available in four markets, the carrier said half of the customers are new to the company.

In a discussion with John Hodulik of UBS Investment Bank and HSBC analyst Sunil Rajgopal, Vestberg said 5G Home comes with a guaranteed 300 Mbps but its millimeter wave spectrum can support up to 800 Mbps or 900 Mbps.

“It’s a totally different way to doing broadband, meaning, instead of having a cord into the house, you have a wireless wave into the house, but the experience is the same in the house. And I think that’s a big opportunity for us. We have one footprint of Home, and that’s the Northeast where we have our Fios footprint. For the rest of the country, we don’t have it. So of course, we see that as an opportunity.”

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In a SCWS Americas keynote speech, title “Building our 5G network,”  Al Burke, AT&T Assistant Vice President – RAN Hardware and Software Development, described the progress the carrier has made in upgrading its network for 5G.  The key points he made were:

  • 5G will facilitate and support new applications such as VR/AR, remote surgery (Bill said he doesn’t want to be one of the first patients), connected cars, etc.
  • Small cells will be an integral part of 5G networks and “bring them to fruition”
  • By the ned of 2017, 55% of AT&Ts network functions were virtualized (I take that to mean they were implemented as software running on commodity compute servers)
  • There have been huge shifts in AT&Ts network in the last few years:

1.  From hardware to software implementations (e.g SDN, NFV);

2.  From centralized to decentralized control (e.g. EDGE computing)

3.  From observation (of network events, alerts, alarms) to insight via AI/ML (e.g.AT&T’s INDIGO)

  • Open RAN (ORAN) is the way to move forward.  Via disaggregation of RAN functions with well defined interfaces, ORAN is “open, modular, enables automation, and is lower cost.  ORAN results in interchangeable network modules (from different vendors) vs vendor proprietary equipment.

AT&T’s 5G Roadmap (only mobile 5G was shown on Al Burke’s slide – nothing on fixed 5G):

  • 2019:  5G NR access with LTE Core network and LTE Access (=signaling?).   The spectrum for AT&Ts initial mobile 5G rollout was not disclosed, but many believe it will be mmWave.
  • 2020-2022+:  5G NR access with 5G Core network (3GPP Release 16 SA or IMT 2020?); also LTE Core with LTE Access
  • 2019-2022+:  mmWave NR : Evolution to Ultra High Speed and lower latency
  • End of 2019-2022+: (unspecified time frame?), AT&T will provide sub 6 GHz 5G coverage in the U.S. speed and latency; dedicated & shared spectrum (LTE-NR-Coexistence)

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When AT&T introduces its “5G” FWA residential service it will be based on LTE, according to Mr. Burke.  In answer to a question from this author during the Q&A session, he said it would start as LTE but then transition to 5G NR based FWA.  The spectrum to be used was not revealed, but you can assume it will be mmWave (like Verizon’s 5G Home).

Author’s Closing Comments:

A claim we’ve heard before (by Ericsson and Vodafone), but don’t believe:  LTE network and terminal equipment will upgrade to 5G NR via “only a software upgrade.”As noted many times by this author and others,

AT&T has repeatedly stated they would roll out “standards based 5G” in 12 cities by the end of 2018 (they have only 3 weeks to fulfill that promise) and 19 cities in 2019.  Some of the cities identified by AT&T for the 2018 launch include Houston TX, Dallas TX, Atlanta TX, Waco TX, Charlotte NC, Raleigh NC, Oklahoma City OK, Jacksonville FL, Louisville, KY, New Orleans LA, Indianapolis IN, and San Antonio TX.

How long can AT&T claim their “5G” network is standards based when they only support 3GPP release 15 “5G NR” NSA access with a LTE core network and LTE signaling?  The ONLY 5G RAN/RIT standard is IMT 2020 which won’t be completed till the end of 2020.

 

 

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Fierce Wireless writes about what to expect from AT&T’s 5G mobile service.  We’d like to know How much will it cost? And who will subscribe when only a WiFi hotspot with 5G backhaul is offered?

 

8 thoughts on “SCWS Americas: Verizon and AT&T 5G Roadmaps Differ on FWA vs mobile “5G”

  1. Excerpts of SCWS Americas Interview with Bill Stone + tongue in cheek closing comment/rebuttal:
    http://www.scwsamericas.com/verizon-and-5g-an-interview-with-bill-stone-vp-technology-development-and-planning

    Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is the only 5G network that combines end-to-end deep fiber resources throughout the network, a large deployment of small cells, and significant spectrum holdings, particularly in the millimeter wave bands, the only spectrum with the bandwidth to realize the full 5G potential for capacity, throughput and latency.

    We’ve been investing in 5G for the last three years to prepare for this moment. We’ve bought 36 million miles of fiber and have long-term contracts with fiber providers to continue our build out. And we’ve also bought a lot of spectrum so we have hundreds of megahertz to deliver a full suite of services.

    I think when you look at the whole picture, you can see that Verizon has been positioning itself to continue its 5G leadership and to be first on 5G.

    Verizon led the way developing and deploying 5G with the creation of the 5G Technology Forum (5GTF) in 2015 — bringing together key partners like Ericsson, Qualcomm, Intel and Samsung — to move the entire 5G ecosystem forward. 5G Tech Forum’s technical work resulted in the release of the 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standard in December of 2017 – two years sooner than most people expected

    And in 2018, we achieved a series of technological “firsts” with other 5G technology leaders, including the first 5G video call over a prototype 5G device at the Super Bowl, the first two-way data transmission over 3GPP 5G NR technology outdoors in June, the first transmission of a 5G NR signal to a moving vehicle in August, and the first video call over commercially deployed 5G NR equipment, and the first data transmission over 5G NR equipment to a prototype smartphone device, both in September.

    So we’re well positioned to continue to lead the deployment of both fixed and mobile 5G technology in the coming months. At Verizon, we know how to build networks. That’s been the foundation of our brand for years. And meeting challenges is part of our network-building DNA. We’re approaching the deployment of 5G technology with the same attitude.

    The beauty of how we’re architecting our network is that it’s a multipurpose network. Many of the strategies, efforts and investments we make are relevant for all our networks, whether 4G, 5G, or IoT networks like CatM or NB IoT. These integrated networks serve our wireless, enterprise, and FiOS businesses, which allows us to gain efficiencies while serving more customers.

    We see the development and deployment of 5G technology as one of the great technological challenges of our time, and our network team thrives on meeting challenges.

    We believe 5G will do nothing short of usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and change the ways we live, work, learn and play. For the consumer, it will be broadband internet service like 5G Home and ultimately mobile 5G service. For communities, it will be networks that support autonomous cars, and Smart Cities solutions that support public safety, utilities, transportation and emergency preparedness. In the healthcare and education spaces, we’ll see the increasing use of augmented and virtual reality to create new immersive experiences that can bring objects and content to life. And in the enterprise, 5G will be a fundamental platform to support the Internet of Things, advanced industrial robotics, and other applications that can leverage 5G’s speeds, bandwidth and latency. In short, 5G will pave the way for unprecedented innovations that will reshape the world.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Author’s Rebuttal:
    1. Verizon’s Home network is now based on a proprietary spec and will transition to 3GPP 5G NR NSA which is NOT a standard but an industry specification.
    2. If you believe that 3GPP 5G or even IMT 2020 will usher in a 4th Industrial revolution and/or reshape the world, than I have a bridge to sell you!

  2. Qualcomm webinar: New 5G industry verticals

    Private 5G networks will expand the market Wide range of industries from manufacturing and seaports to venues and enterprise 32% CAGR

    Extending mmWave indoors with private 5G networks Operator’s public mmWave network
    • Unlimited data, elevated experiences • Anchored in LTE (non-standalone)
    • Global mmWave spectrum ~28 GHz1 Private indoor mmWave enterprise network
    • 5G NR mmWave complements Wi-Fi
    • Standalone, no dependency on public network
    • Reuse spectrum (in/out isolation), common device solution

    Enterprise networks: 5G NR mmWave + Wi-Fi

    Always connected laptops and tablets
    1) Requires network connectivity;
    2) Expected coverage in typical office environments, actual coverage and performance depends on propagation and deployment.

    Multi-Gigabit speeds with virtually unlimited capacity.
    Reuse licensed spectrum— in-/outside mmWave isolation.
    Private 5G NR indoor network with cellular grade security
    5G NR mmWave boosts performance in Enterprise networks

    Downlink/uplink coverage comparable to Wi-Fi with 1:1 or partial co-site
    Realize multi-Gigabit burst rate with wider bandwidths (e.g., 800 MHz)
    Complement indoor WiFi deployments

  3. Verizon sheds 10,400 employees. Reason: cost cutting in preparation for 5G capital expenses

    Verizon’s recently announced realigned organization structure designed to optimize growth opportunities in the 5G era. “These changes are well-planned and anticipated, and they will be seamless to our customers,” said Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg. “This is a moment in time, given our financial and operational strength, to begin to better serve customers with more agility, speed and flexibility.”

    https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-announces-results-voluntary-separation-offer

  4. How 5G will help power the IIoT
    To make better informed, faster business decisions, the speed and strength of the network must be a given. In testing, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband can provide speeds up to 20x faster than current-generation wireless. With that kind of responsiveness, the potential of the IIoT to not only streamline, but supercharge the industrial sector will only grow.

    Imagine predictive analytics detecting corrosion in a refinery pipe, allowing repairs to be made before a catastrophic burst. Sensors on a cargo ship could provide real-time information on propeller performance and relay payload status to buyers across an ocean. Monitors embedded in the tracks could chart a freight train’s location and liaise with other systems throughout the transportation grid to optimize its passage. A turbine could analyze stored data and adjust its blades in near-real time to optimally harness wind energy. These are only a few examples of the ways in which IIoT systems, fueled by 5G, can improve industrial processes.

    The IIoT’s impact on global business
    To scale the IIoT, processing functions must shift to the network edge. Construction sites, container ports, oil rigs and yellow iron are all becoming increasingly cloud-connected and data-driven, and the demand for hyper-agility requires small, strategically placed data centers that contain massive amounts of storage and computing power. The alternative—relaying sensor information to a centralized server and back again—would simply take too long to make instantaneous decisions, no matter the speed of transfer.

    https://www.verizon.com/about/our-company/5G/how-5g-can-power-industrial-internet-things

  5. In my opinion, the pre-IMT 2020 standard 5G networks (both mobile and fixed “fake 5G”) will have few takers in 2019 and network operators deploying them will lose a lot of money.

    Those “fake 5G” networks will all have to be redesigned and re-architected after the ITU-R and ITU-T 5G standards have been completed in late 2020 or early 2021 (3GPP Rel 16 3 month slip). It could be a forklift upgrade, depending on the final IMT 2020 standard for Radio Interface Technology (RIT) chosen by ITU-R WP 5D and the non radio related IMT 2020 standards being progressed by ITU-T.

  6. Verizon’s work is the product of the company’s own 5G Technical Forum (5G TF) — a partnership with network architects Cisco and Nokia; device makers Ericsson, LG, and Samsung; and platform makers Intel and Qualcomm. But as CNET’s Roger Cheng was first to note, the products of 5G TF utilize access technologies that are proprietary to the Verizon network, and thus cannot be industry-wide standards.

    However, as Verizon’s technical documentation points out, much of the infrastructure of 5G TF is grounded in true 5G technology, most notably including its Radio Access Network (5G-RAN). All carriers have their own access technologies, and will continue to do so even in the 5G era. So there is a case to be made that, even though Verizon’s 5G Home may not be officially 5G now, it will be once 5G actually “arrives.”

    In the meantime, expect some discussion throughout CES 2019 on the integration with cellular networks with the Internet of Things. One technology platform certain to bring the IoT into the 5G discussion is NB-IoT, a system that extends cellular signals to small, distributed devices, in a home, a factory floor, or conceivably across an entire campus. A company called Digi will be among those demonstrating NB-IoT this year

  7. Verizon’s work is the product of the company’s own 5G Technical Forum (5G TF) — a partnership with network architects Cisco and Nokia; device makers Ericsson, LG, and Samsung; and platform makers Intel and Qualcomm. But as CNET’s Roger Cheng was first to note, the products of 5G TF utilize access technologies that are proprietary to the Verizon network, and thus cannot be industry-wide standards.

    However, as Verizon’s technical documentation points out, much of the infrastructure of 5G TF is grounded in true 5G technology, most notably including its Radio Access Network (5G-RAN). All carriers have their own access technologies, and will continue to do so even in the 5G era. So there is a case to be made that, even though Verizon’s 5G Home may not be officially 5G now, it will be once 5G actually “arrives.”

    In the meantime, expect some discussion throughout CES 2019 on the integration with cellular networks with the Internet of Things. One technology platform certain to bring the IoT into the 5G discussion is NB-IoT, a system that extends cellular signals to small, distributed devices, in a home, a factory floor, or conceivably across an entire campus. A company called Digi will be among those demonstrating NB-IoT this year

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/ces-2019-are-the-newly-launched-5g-services-truly-5g-wireless/

  8. Verizon Faces ‘Steep Climb’ to Attain Attractive Return on 5G Home – Analyst

    5G-powered fixed wireless broadband is being billed as a potential disruptor to cable operators and other in-home wireline service providers, but a new analysis of Verizon’s 5G Home rollout in Sacramento suggests that the company faces a “steep climb” to scale the offering and generate an acceptable return on the investment.

    “Our findings in Sacramento — limited coverage, low penetration — preliminary though they may be, suggest that earning an attractive return will be challenging, at best,” Craig Moffett, analyst with MoffettNathanson, wrote in a lengthy analysis of Verizon’s 5G Home rollout there.

    https://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/verizon-faces-steep-climb-to-attain-attractive-return-on-5g-home—analyst-/d/d-id/750289?

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