Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg CES Keynote: a Magic Show of 5G Hype

At yesterday’s long winded CES keynote, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg promised that 5G technology will dramatically impact all aspects of the economy.  As others before him have said, “5G will usher in a 4th industrial revolution.”  It will also be “a quantum leap compared to 4G” and “5G changes everything,” he said.

Yet none of those claims can be proven, because standardized 5G (based on IMT 2020) won’t be deployed till late 2020 or early 2021.  Verizon’s version of 5G is based on the carrier’s proprietary V5GTF spec.  Moreover, residential fixed wireless broadband (which Verizon has deployed in several U.S. cities with many more coming in 2019) isn’t even a use case for IMT 2020!

During the keynote, Vestberg introduced the eight “currencies” of 5G that will unleash highly connective technologies and blend physical and digital realms like never before – from AR and VR to IoT, AI, autonomous vehicles, advanced robotics, 3D printing, wearable tech and more.

The eight currencies are:

  • Speed and Throughput: Peak data rates of 10 gigabits per second and mobile data volumes of 10 terabits per second per square kilometer
  • Mobility, Connected Devices and Internet of Things: Mobile devices traveling at up to 500 kilometers per hour can potentially stay connected on a 5G network, and up to one million devices can be supported by 5G in a square kilometer
  • Energy Efficiency and Service Deployment: 5G network equipment and devices will consume only 10% of the energy consumed by 4G network equipment and devices, and specialized services that will operate on the 5G network will take much less time to implement
  • Latency and Reliability: Five millisecond end-to-end travel time of data from the mobile device to the edge of the 5G network – faster than the blink of an eye, and 5G will be more than 99.999% reliable

Vestberg added that Verizon’s ability to deliver all eight currencies of 5G is dependent on its fiber, spectrum, network density, and real estate – and that companies lacking these assets are underestimating what it will take to provide true 5G service. “Anyone who thinks 5G is just for the mobile handset is thinking too small.”

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg discusses 5G at the 2019 CES.

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg discusses 5G at the 2019 CES.  Image Credit: Jeremy Horwitz/VentureBeat


To add credibility to his claims, Vestberg shared the CES stage with a diverse set of industry partners, including the New York Times, Walt Disney Studios, a doctor from the medical technology company Medivis and Verizon-owned drone operation company Skyward.  There was also a carnival style basket shoot by a member of the L.A. Lakers using Virtual Reality goggles with the image provided by Verizon’s version of 5G.

Each partner spoke of how 5G will transform their business. For instance, the New York Times is opening a “5G journalism lab” with Verizon. NY Times CEO Mark Thompson (a Brit) expects that it will transform the way the publication’s journalists gather news, as well as how it distributes the news — notably including more VR and AR content.

Verizon is separately partnering with Walt Disney’s StudioLab to explore how next-generation connectivity can improve Disney’s content production and transmission.  Walt Disney Studios CTO Jamie Voris took the stage to say that his company will be working with Verizon to give Marvel, Pixar, Disney, and LucasArts filmmakers early access to 5G innovations. Six months ago, Disney’s StudioLab was created in Burbank to figure out how to do things like improve rendering speeds for digital effects and use drones to advance cinematography. Now Verizon has joined StudioLab as a core innovation partner and will help Disney work on 5G cloud-based production workflows, 5G-connected movie standees and posters, and volumetric performance capture.

Skyward President Mariah Scott said that Verizon is committed to being the first to connect 1 million drone flights on its 5G network.  Vestberg used a tablet in the keynote venue at the Venetian to pilot a drone in Los Angeles through a 5G connection.  Ms. Scott mentioned the promise of using 5G-powered drones for industrial uses.  “The ability to gather data and analyze it in real time is what will change things,” Scott said.

Dr. Christopher Morley (MD) of Medivis spoke about the impact of 5G on medical science, including how 5G could help the medical community rethink the connections between patients and caregivers — bringing people together and changing the way doctors provide care. He also offered a powerful tangible example of how 5G and AR will work together in medical procedures.  However, there was no mention of 5G being able to deliver the low latency and high quality imaging that AR requires.


To expand its network of partners, Vestberg announced Verizon is launching a 5G innovation challenge, offering up to $1 million in seed money for the best applications of the technology.   It’s called the Verizon “5G Challenge.”

Verizon last October said it launched “the world’s first commercial 5G service” with 5G Home, a fixed wireless service for residential customers. It offers theoretical peak throughput speeds of 1Gbps.  During the keynote, Vestberg made a video call to Clayton Harris of Houston, Texas, the first 5G Home customer. Harris ran a speed test from his home, reaching 690 Mbps. He said he normally sees between 600 Mbps and 1 Gbps, with speeds at times reaching as high as 1.3 Gbps.

Vestberg said he ultimately wants to see an easier installation process for its 5G Home service– one that you can install yourself.  That will be a very difficult endeavor indeed.  For example, there is an outdoor antenna (RF transmitter/receiver) that has to be mounted outside, possibly run wires through walls, floors or ceilings, configure 5G router settings, and (if needed) Wi-Fi extenders will be installed in the home, at no charge, to ensure adequate Wi-Fi coverage for the entire house.  Here’s the complete 5G Home installation procedure:

The Asurion technician will complete the following installation process for your 5G Home service and connect your devices:

    • Verify and explain the areas in your home where the 5G signal is received.
    • Conduct a test to determine whether the 5G receiver can be installed inside or outside your home. The strength of the 5G signal can vary inside and outside your home.
    • Conduct a test of the Wi-Fi signal strength of each device throughout the house that is connected to the 5G Home Router. A Wi-Fi extender may also be installed at no charge to strengthen the Wi-Fi signal throughout your house or for devices that have a weak Wi-Fi signal.
    • Install the receiver, with your approval, either inside or outside on the side of your house.
    • Depending on the locations of the receiver and the router, the technician may need to run wires through walls, floors or ceilings.
    • Ensure that all your previously Wi-Fi connected devices are now connected to your Verizon 5G Home Router.
    • Demonstrate how you can use the My Verizon app to manage your router, such as how to restart it when you are away from home, and check the signal strength of the devices connected to the router.

–>Do you really think a non technical person can do such a self install?


3 thoughts on “Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg CES Keynote: a Magic Show of 5G Hype

  1. This blog and many other articles published by Alan Weissberger continually point out that the 5G hype and hyperbole are way ahead of any reality for that wireless technology.

    The fact is there is a ZERO likelihood of any inter-operable 5G network deployment until late 2020, at the earliest!

    AT&T and Verizon, among a few others, have repeatedly made unsubstantiated and hollow claims including 5G timelines, many of which, are based on their own private versions of 5G.
    -Don’t the major carriers have a responsibility to lead the industry towards a baseline and inter-operable 5G standard (i.e. IMT 2020)?
    -Do they expect the network equipment and handset manufacturers to have multiple product lines, each based on what a particular carrier’s version of 5G?

    It is interesting to note the FCC has also not set the record on 5G, either!

  2. Verizon Wireless can build out its 5G network without buying more spectrum, Verizon President Ronan Dunne told analysts at the Citi 2019 Global TMT West Conference. adding that the telecom has plenty of unused licensed frequencies left to complete the job. Also, Dunne said half of the subscribers to Verizon’s 5G Home fixed wireless service were new customers.

    Roughly 60% of 1,000 megahertz of spectrum that Verizon holds in 28 GHz and 39 GHz frequencies, also known as millimeter wave spectrum, is unused, Dunne said, according to a transcription of his on-stage interview by Seeking Alpha.

    “We have an explosion of capacity in the areas where the demand is created by the largest contiguous holding of millimeter spectrum on the planet,” he said.

  3. It was supposed to be one of the dominant themes of the show, but 5G was at this week’s CES in name only. There were scant products that could even connect to the limited 5G networks out there. And while many people were discussing the promise and possibilities of the technology, there were only a few concrete examples.

    “At CES, 5G is mainly being used as a buzzword and proxy for ‘future of mobility,'” said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Global Data.

    In short, it was like every other trade show discussion about 5G – all hype. And thanks to the carriers, 5G maybe even more confusing.

    “The US carriers are not helping themselves or their customers in their ‘I am first and I am better’ race,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies. “It is a sad state of affairs, to be honest.”

    Vestberg insists Verizon is the first to 5G thanks to its home broadband service, which launched in October. But some in the industry quibble with the declaration of victory, noting that the company launched the service using a proprietary standard that the industry didn’t agree on.

    The company plans to switch to industry-standard 5G, called 5G NR, later this year. But Ed Chan, Verizon’s chief technology architect, justified the move by arguing that its push to get to 5G out aggressively helped drive the industry standard to evolve faster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Recent Posts