Ericsson will supply Verizon with 5G radio infrastructure, allowing Verizon to launch commercial “pre-5G” networks in 2018. The expected deployments will include the launch of fixed wireless services in a few U.S. cities.
That is important for several reasons. Although the creation of new apps, services and revenues is a hoped-for development for 5G, that expectation has existed for 3G and 4G as well, where service providers expected new use cases and apps to develop, but were not sure precisely what would happen.
That remains the case for 5G as well, where the key issue is the business model: what incremental new revenue sources will develop?
Verizon, learning in part from history, is following a known deployment path. As 4G initially was launched in the first markets to support computing devices, not mobile voice, so Verizon will launch 5G as a platform for fixed wireless internet access, and later add the full mobility network functions. That allows a scaling of investment and matches early investment with revenue generation.
Use of 5G to support fixed wireless access, both in-territory and out of region, is among the first new revenue sources to develop for 5G. Deployment of fixed wireless out of Verizon’s existing fixed network region also is a first.
So one other way to characterize Verizon’s early 5G deployments is to note that the platform will enable an out-of-region assault on consumer markets, where Fios has been totally in-region.