Verizon CEO: 5G will require fiber optic expansion, mobile edge computing and continue to use mmWave spectrum

Verizon 5G Overview:

Verizon’s 5G network strategy is centered on three deliverables with fiber optics for backhaul playing a huge role in all of them:

  1.  5G mobile for businesses and consumers,
  2.  5G home broadband (see Note 1. below) —delivering home internet over the air—and
  3.  Mobile edge computing, which is essentially miniature data centers distributed throughout the network so they’re closer to the 5G endpoints.

The company’s CEO Hans Vestberg said that a total of 30 5G mobile cities will be launched by Verizon this year. He also plans to restart Verizon’s fixed wireless 5G Home service [1] later this year. 5G Home currently is in four U.S. markets.

Note 1.  There is no standard for 5G fixed wireless and none is even being worked on.  It is not an IMT 2020 use case within ITU.

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Fiber and Mobile Edge Computing:

The U.S.’s #1 wireless carrier by subscribers will continue to install fiber at a rate of 1,400 miles per month in support of its 5G network builds for between two and three years.  Verizon will begin to provide mobile edge computing [aka Multi-access edge computing (MEC)] during the upcoming quarter, Vestberg said at a Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor conference on Thursday, September 19th.  Verizon fiber deployments are critical to supporting a mixture of services, Vestberg said.

As part of its Fiber One project, two years ago Verizon signed a $1.1 billion, three-year fiber and hardware purchase agreement with Corning to build a next-generation fiber platform to support 4G LTE, 5G, and gigabit backhaul for 5G networks and fiber-to-the premise deployments to residential and business customers. Also in 2017, Verizon also announced a $300 million fiber deal with Prsymian Group to provide additional fiber for its wireline and wireless services.

“The whole Intelligent Edge Network was basically all of the way from the data center to the access point we have one unique network for redundancy. And then, of course, in between fiber to the access point and then you decide if its 5G, 4G, or fiber to the home or fiber to curb, or fiber to the enterprise,” Vestberg said. “In that, the fiber deployment for us was extremely important.”

“One part of the whole intelligent edge network was that . . . all the way from the data center to the access point you have one unique network with a lot of redundancy and, in between, a lot of fiber to the access point and then you decide if it’s 3G, 5G, 4G or fiber to the home or fiber to the curb or fiber to the enterprise,” he explained.

Vestberg said: “You have one unique network with a lot of redundancy and, in between, a lot of fiber to the access point,” he said of edge computing, which has become a priority for many wireless and wireline network operators.

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mmWave for 5G:

Verizon will continue to deploy millimeter wave (mmWave) for its 5G network for the foreseeable future, Vestberg told the investor conference audience.  High frequency band mmWave has great download speeds but its range is very limited, which requires many more small cells.

“Maybe you have 50 to 70 megabits per second on a 4G network today, when you get 1 gig [on 5G] it’s a totally different experience and what you can do with it,” Vestberg said. “What we saw in the 4G era was enormous innovation coming with that [greater] coverage and that speed [over 3G]. It’s going to be the same with 5G for sure,” he added.

“Now we have 2 gigs [gigabits per second] on the phones,” Vestberg said. The range, however, can veer from 2,000 feet to 500 feet and the network can’t deliver flashy streaming videos — or, in fact, any kind of service — indoors.  Verizon is the only US carrier solely dedicated to the highband (28GHz) approach to 5G for now. AT&T and T-Mobile plan to launch low and mid band 5G networks next year, along with limited mmWave deployments. Sprint has mid band 5G launched so far.

“We can launch nationwide with millimeter wave,” the Verizon CEO insisted.  “Any spectrum will have 5G in the future,” Vestberg noted. Verizon will also offer dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) in the future. DSS will allow operators to share spectrum instantaneously and simultaneously between 4G and 5G networks. But not for mmWave, since that doesn’t share spectrum with any 4G networks.

Vestberg said Verizon has all the spectrum it needs now to do a nationwide network on mmWave, and that adding more antennas in a given area or making software adjustments are also options for increasing capacity on existing spectrum bands.

Vestberg insisted that the mmWave-based service will be “self-install.” This would be more economical than the “white glove” — a.k.a. professional — installation model that 5G Home started with in October 2018.

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Verizon’s mobile network:

A growing percentage of Verizon’s mobile subscribers are on unlimited data plans, with about half today.  “This is a way for us to continue to see that our customers have a great journey from metered plan to Unlimited (data) plans and then they can move up…to 5G,” Vestberg said.

“We think that we are best equipped to leverage the best network and continue to partner with [media companies] rather than us managing it.  Others might have better qualities for doing that but we don’t, Vestberg said.

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References:

Verizon to speak at Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference September 19
https://www.verizon.com/about/investors/goldman-sachs-28th-annual-communacopia-conference

https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1260712&tp_key=eae790b458

https://www.barrons.com/articles/verizon-ceo-hans-vestberg-stock-5g-wireless-competition-51568906382

https://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/verizons-vestberg-sticks-with-mmwave-for-5g-/d/d-id/754248

https://www.telecompetitor.com/verizon-ceo-ongoing-fiber-investments-paying-dividends-including-mec/

3 thoughts on “Verizon CEO: 5G will require fiber optic expansion, mobile edge computing and continue to use mmWave spectrum

  1. Also see: Verizon CTO Upbeat on 5G Millimeter Wave vs Lack of mid band spectrum?

    Millimeter wave spectrum “opens up so many possibilities,” said Verizon Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Kyle Malady at an investor conference today. Malady made his comments at the Wells Fargo Telecom 5G Forum, which was webcast. “The cloud will go closer and closer and closer,” he said without providing any rationale or support for that statement.

    https://techblog.comsoc.org/2019/06/21/verizon-cto-upbeat-on-5g-millimeter-wave-vs-lack-of-mid-band-spectrum/

  2. From Lightreading on Verizon’s 5G Home (so called 5G FWA):

    Verizon’s Ronan Dunne reiterated the company’s ultimate 5G Home deployment goal of covering roughly 30 million American households with the service. And he confirmed that the company expects to reach that goal in the next five to seven years.

    Verizon’s initial launch of its 5G Home fixed wireless service in 2018 used the operator’s proprietary 5GTF transmission standard and not the official 3GPP-approved 5G NR transmission standard, Dunne explained in comments this week at the Citi 2020 Global TMT West investor conference.

    Verizon relaunched its 5G Home service in late 2019 in Chicago with 5G NR equipment and receiver/routers that customers could install themselves. That kind of do-it-yourself installation helps Verizon sidestep the expense of paying a technician to install 5G Home equipment on the inside or outside of a user’s home or office.

    However, Dunne explained that Verizon’s refreshed launch in Chicago isn’t part of a wider expansion of 5G Home — at least, not yet.

    He said new, high-powered customer premises equipment (CPE) is scheduled to arrive in the second half of this year, and “that’s really the key.” He said such CPE will be able to receive 5G signals from transmitters that are much further away, thus significantly expanding Verizon’s 5G Home coverage area. He said Verizon’s current 5G Home CPE uses a regular smartphone chipset and “as a result the footprint is significantly smaller.”

    When questioned about Verizon’s goal of covering 30 million households — or roughly 23% of the population of the US — with 5G Home, Dunne said it would probably take the operator five to seven years to do so. Dunne’s comments appear to reiterate Verizon’s plans to eventually reach 30 million households with the offering — that’s noteworthy because operator executives appeared to walk back that goal last year. It now appears to be back in the plan.

    Dunne said it would take years for Verizon to reach that 30 million deployment goal because the operator is primarily building 5G coverage in dense urban areas that are “low residential.” Meaning, Verizon’s 5G network today mainly functions in downtown urban areas — where Verizon sees the bulk of its mobile customer traffic — instead of the residential and suburban locations where 5G Home makes more sense.

    “It’s very much a mobility strategy, with a secondary product of Home, rather than us changing our overarching mobility deployment to try to accelerate Home at the expense of the overall 130 million customer base,” Dunne said.

    https://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/verizon-dont-expect-much-from-5g-home-until-h2-2020/d/d-id/756677
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    Archived Jan 7, 2020 webcast from Citi TMT conference: Ronan Dunne, EVP & Group CEO of VZ Consumer, Verizon Communications

    https://veracast.com/webcasts/citigroup/tmt2020/73103173164.cfm#/player/html5/speed/a8

  3. WRC-19 identified new frequency bands 24.25-27.5 GHz, 37-43.5 GHz, 45.5-47 GHz, 47.2-48.2 and 66-71 GHz for the deployment of 5G (IMT 2020) radio access networks. Those frequencies will be included in a new version of ITU-R M.1036 recommendation.

    ITU-R M.1036 will specify the frequency bands for IMT 2020 RIT/SRITs as well as all other IMT recommendations (e.g. IMT-2000, IMT-Advanced, etc).

    Free download of the ITU-R M.1036 pdf:
    https://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r/rec/m/R-REC-M.1036-6-201910-I!!PDF-E.pdf

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