It only seems like five minutes ago that we were waxing lyrical about the download speeds offered by 4G/LTE and waiting eagerly for networks around the world to introduce it. Verizon, one of the world’s largest mobile carriers, clearly isn’t one to rest on its laurels, as demonstrated by the fact that the company has already put its 5G technology through its paces with some astonishing results.
The company’s early testing shows that it could potentially achieve optimum connection speeds of 30-50 times faster than what is currently offered by 4G/LTE. The reported speed multiplier makes impressive enough reading by itself. But when you consider that those speeds are actually more than what is currently offered by Google’s hard-wired Fiber service, it really starts to hit home just how impressive the technology could be. What could be even more exciting for consumers always looking to push the boundaries of new technology, is that Verizon could come in three years ahead of its own release schedule by having “some level of commercial deployment by 2017”.
Verizon customers out there who may be rubbing their hands in anticipation; let’s not get too excited just yet. “Some level of commercial deployment” essentially means that Verizon will potentially run a trial of the technology with a very select subset of long-term, high-spending customers in certain parts of the United States. There’s also the fact that the technology will require manufacturers to actually develop compatible smartphone and tablet devices before networks invest the time and financial resources into making 5G a widespread offering across the mobile networks. Still, each stride taken is a step in the right direction.
We can only hope that Verizon’s public display of commitment to the technology will jolt competing networks into investing their own resources into deployment as soon as possible. Carrier limitations aren’t the only potential stumbling block that 5G will run into; as was the case with 4G/LTE, networks will require the government to release compatible spectrum before it can extend beyond limited testing, as Roger Gurnani, Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President of Verizon confirms:
For technical trials themselves, we have what we need. Beyond that, 5G will require big bands of spectrum.
5G is definitely coming. It’s going to be fast. It’s going to be impressive. The only question that remains, is when it will be available across the board for all consumers on all networks.
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