Verizon will launch commercial pre-5G service for some customers in 11 markets throughout the United States, in the first half of 2017, in Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Bernardsville (NJ), Brockton (MA ), Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Sacramento, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
The services will provide fixed wireless gigabit internet access service, not pre-5G mobile service, and seem to be targeted at selected lead customers as well, perhaps several thousand or so sites, including homes and businesses.
Some will take issue with the “pre-5G” platform, or perhaps the immediate focus on fixed wireless. Aside from the fact that supplying fixed wireless is something Verizon can do today, rather than waiting for the full standards to be ratified, fixed wireless also is one of the new use cases and revenue drivers for early 5G, many believe.
"Ericsson's partnership with Verizon in rolling out 5G customer trials is accelerating the global 5G ecosystem," said "These end-to-end solutions are a key step for preparing Verizon's network for commercial deployment with different 5G scenarios and use cases," said Rima Qureshi, Ericsson North America region head.
It matters, and matters perhaps significantly, if fixed wireless piggybacking on the 5G mobile infrastructure also can support widespread and affordable gigabit access services. Depending on how well the initial business case works, Verizon might well be able to dramatically extend its fixed network footprint nationwide, from its northeast and mid-Atlantic footprint.
That would represent a major new opportunity for Verizon, which has a relatively-limited fixed network geography.