Verizon Selects Samsung for First “5G” Fixed Wireless Broadband Deployment in 2018

Verizon has chosen Samsung Electronics as a major supplier in the U.S. telco’s push to offer high speed fixed access internet and other services over its wireless network. Financial terms of this “5G” business relationship weren’t disclosed.  Samsung’s “5G” Fixed Wireless Access network products (including 5G home routers and 5G Radio Access units) will be used for commercial deployments.

Verizon says its “5G” fixed access network will launch in the second half of this year in Sacramento, CA, which is more than two full years before ITU-R WP5D completes its IMT 2020 standards.  Verizon plans to add the same “5G” fixed broadband access service in four other U.S. markets later in 2018.  It will use cellular antennas to beam high-speed internet into consumers’ homes. Samsung will make network equipment for Verizon—including the small boxes that will sit inside each home, receiving the signal and translating it into WiFi— the companies said Wednesday, January 3, 2018.  Verizon said last month it would also use “5G” network equipment made by Ericsson for commercial launches in other U.S. markets.

Verizon estimates the market opportunity for initial 5G residential broadband services to be approximately 30 million households nationwide. In addition, it says that the 5G commercial launch will not have a material impact on its consolidated Capex in 2018 and that it expects its full-year 2018 capital spending program to be consistent with the past several years.

Last year, Verizon began “5G” fixed access trials, focused on home broadband service, in 11 U.S. markets from New Jersey to California. Samsung will provide network gear for Verizon’s launch in Sacramento, where customers will be offered the option of purchasing the faster wireless access capability.  Verizon and Samsung collaborated on 5G trials in parts of California, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Washington, D.C.  Verizon and Samsung said that those trials revealed that a single 5G radio could reach the 19th floor of a multi-dwelling unit, and that broadband service was achieved using line of sight, partial Line of Sight (LOS) and even non-LOS connections. They also claimed that “environmental factors” such as rain and snow, did not interrupt “5G” based broadband service.

“The industry has been discussing 5G connectivity for years, and through our joint collaboration with partners like Samsung, we are beginning to make it a reality for our customers,” Ed Chan, chief technology architect and network planning at Verizon, said in a statement. “Sacramento is an ideal place to begin deploying 5G broadband services, providing a progressive environment for creating future use cases.”

“Together with Verizon, we have explored the vast potential of 5G through market trials across the U.S.,” added Mark Louison, SVP and GM, networks division, at Samsung Electronics America. “At the same time, Samsung applied lessons learned from these real-world trials to ensure that our complete end-to-end 5G portfolio is ready for commercial service. We are delighted to work with Verizon on this journey to create unprecedented user experiences powered by 5G.”

[Note that there’s been no mention of when “5G” mobile service might be available from Verizon.]

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“5G” carries the potential to disrupt the broadband fixed access market for triple play services.  That market is currently dominated by cable/MSO providers like Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc, but AT&T is also there with its U-verse and AT&T Fiber offerings.

Companies globally are investing billions of dollars in 5G despite continued debate over its ultimate uses beyond faster download speeds.  The three main applications areas for IMT 2020 are:

1] Enhanced Mobile Broadband

2] Ultra-Reliable, Low Latency Communications

3] Massive Machine Communications, i.e. Internet of Things (IoT)

Note that fixed broadband Internet access is not one of them!

Here’s an ITU diagram of IMT 2020 5G Use Cases from from a September 2016 ITU presentation:

Arthur D. Little has written a report called “5G deployment models are crystallizing” in which it makes the case that telcos need to find use cases now, if not to reap the benefits of being early to market then as a defensive measure. Where in the past only other telcos had the wherewithal to roll out a new generation of wireless technology, ADL points out that that’s no longer true. Non-telecom players are moving into the 5G space, including Google, Facebook, Apple, Hitachi, Scania, NEC, Ericsson, and Comau. Government agencies and telecom operators expect broad “5G” availability in many markets by 2020, but again, that won’t be based on ITU-R ratified IMT 2020 standards.

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“5G is a reality,” said Kim Young-ky, president of Samsung’s networks business, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

South Korean technology giant Samsung, a fairly small player in the network equipment world, believes its knowledge making products and components could give it an edge with telecom customers seeking to sell connectivity to a wider range of devices.  Samsung’s network business generated some 2 trillion ($1.9 billion) to 2.5 trillion won in 2017, according to research firm Counterpoint Technology Market Research. It targets annual revenue of 10 trillion won by 2022, a Samsung spokesman said.

The average U.S. consumer uses about five gigabytes of mobile data a month, Mr. Kim said. But after 5G becomes more ubiquitous in the next few years, he believes consumers will eventually use closer to 100 gigabytes monthly on new services such as virtual or augmented reality programs—or even from driverless cars that will require greater data speeds to rapidly process traffic conditions.

About two years ago, Samsung combined about 1,000 workers from different divisions including handsets, network and its central research-and-development group, to create a “Next Generation Communications Business” team dedicated to 5G.

“With 5G, it’s going to be expanding beyond your phone,” Kim Woo-june, a senior vice president in Samsung’s network business, said in an interview. The industry’s first mobile phones with 5G capabilities aren’t likely to debut until 2019, he added.

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AT&T last month said it would launch a “5G” trial site in Texas, after tests in other markets. Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. have said they are working on nationwide “5G” networks, targeting late 2019 or 2020.

References:

https://news.samsung.com/us/verizon-5g-commercial-launch/

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/platforms/samsung-gets-piece-verizon-s-5g-action/170867

https://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2018/01/verizon-partners-samsung-5g-fixed-wireless-launch

Related Articles on “5G” Deployments:

Verizon Exec: ‘Meaningful’ 5G Deployments to Start in 2018:
http://www.multichannel.com/news/finance/verizon-exec-meaningful-5g-deployments-start-2018/411354
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Verizon 5G to launch in Sacramento in 2018 | ZDNet
http://www.zdnet.com/article/verizon-5g-to-launch-in-sacramento-in-2018/
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Verizon Tips Launch of 5G-Based Residential Broadband Service

http://www.multichannel.com/news/finance/verizon-tips-launch-5g-based-residential-broadband-service/416824

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Verizon commits to residential fixed broadband as first 5G use case, but analysts call the plan “murky”

http://www.telecomtv.com/articles/5g/verizon-commits-to-residential-fixed-broadband-as-first-5g-use-case-but-analysts-call-the-plan-murky-16206/

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AT&T Targets 5G Rollouts in 2018 After 3GPP Standards Acceleration
https://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2017/03/t-targets-5g-rollouts-2018-after-3gpp-standards-acceleration
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AT&T Expects 5G in Late 2018 or Early ’19
http://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/atandt-expects-5g-in-late-2018-or-early-19/d/d-id/733953
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South Korea to launch first commercial 5G network in 2019
https://www.rcrwireless.com/20170525/5g/south-korea-launch-first-commercial-5g-network-2019

 

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