Tag Archives: Verizon

Verizon became the first wireless carrier to deliver 5G service in the U.S.

On 3 April 2019, Verizon reported that it turned on its 5G networks in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis, becoming the first wireless carrier to deliver 5G service to U.S. customers with compatible wireless devices in selected urban areas.  In its initial 5G service, Verizon is offering an average data rate of 450 Mbps (Megabits per second), with plans to achieve higher speeds as the network rollout continues and service matures.  Much of the 5G hype has been on delivering data rates at or above 1 Gbps (Gigabits per second = 1,000 Megabits per second). 

In comparison, Verizon reports that it currently delivers 4G LTE service in 500 markets.  This service is “able to handle download speeds between 5 and 12 Mbps …. and upload speeds between 2 and 5 Mbps, with peak download speeds approaching 50 Mbps.”  Clearly, even Verizon’s initial 5G data rate is a big improvement over 4G LTE. 

At the present time, only one mobile phone works with Verizon’s initial 5G service: the Moto Z3 with an attachment called the 5G Moto Mod.  It is anticipated that the Samsung’s S10 5G smartphone will be the first all-new 5G mobile phone to hit the market, likely later this spring.  You’ll find details on this phone here:

https://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/galaxy-s10/

Other U.S. wireless carriers, including AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile US, have announced that they plan to start delivering 5G service later in 2019.

5G technology standards

Wireless carriers and suppliers with a stake in 5G are engaged in the processes for developing international standards. However, with no firm 5G technology standard truly in place at this time, the market is still figuring out what 5G features and functionalities will be offered, how they will be delivered, and when they will be ready for commercial introduction.  The range of 5G functionalities being developed are shown in the following ITU diagram.

Range of 5G applications

Verizon’s initial 5G mobile phone promotion is focusing on data speed and low latency.

The primary 5G standards bodies involved in developing the international standards are the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).  A key international standard, 5G/IMT-2020, is expected to be issued in (as you might expect) 2020.  

You’ll find a good description of 5G technology by ITU in a February 2018 presentation, “Key features and requirements of 5G/IMT-2020 networks,” which you will find at the following link:

https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Regional-Presence/ArabStates/Documents/events/2018/RDF/Workshop%20Presentations/Session1/5G-%20IMT2020-presentation-Marco-Carugi-final-reduced.pdf

DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge 2 (SC2)

In my 6 June 2016 post, I reported on SC2, which eventually could benefit 5G service by:

 “…developing a new wireless paradigm of collaborative, local, real-time decision-making where radio networks will autonomously collaborate and reason about how to share the RF (radio frequency) spectrum.”

SC2 is continuing into 2019.  Fourteen teams have qualified for Phase 3 of the competition, which will culminate in the Spectrum Collaboration Challenge Championship Event, which will be held on 23 October 2019 in conjunction with the 2019 Mobile World Congress in Los Angeles, CA.  You can follow SC2 news here:

https://www.spectrumcollaborationchallenge.com/media/

If SC2 is successful and can be implemented commercially, it would enable more efficient use of the RF bandwidth assigned for use by 5G systems.

For more background information on 5G, see the following Lyncean posts:

5G Wireless Defined

In my 20 April 2016 post, “5G is Coming, Slowly,” I discussed the evolution of mobile communications technology and the prospects for the deployment of the next generation: 5G. The complexity of 5G service relative to current generation 4G (LTE) service is daunting because of rapidly increasing technical demands that greatly exceed LTE core capabilities. Examples of technical drivers for 5G include the population explosion in the Internet of Things (IoT), the near-term deployment of operational self-driving cars, and the rise of virtual and augmented reality mobile applications.

Progress toward 5G is steadily being made. Here’s a status update.

1. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) technical performance requirements

The ITU is responsible for international standardization of mobile communications technologies. On 23 February 2017, the ITU released a draft report containing their current consensus definition of the minimum technical performance requirements for 5G wireless (IMT-2020) radio service.

The ITU authors note:

“….the capabilities of IMT-2020 are identified, which aim to make IMT-2020 more flexible, reliable and secure than previous IMT when providing diverse services in the intended three usage scenarios, including enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC), and massive machine type communications (mMTC).”

This ITU’s draft technical performance requirements report is a preliminary document that is a product of the second stage of the ITU’s standardization process for 5G wireless deployment, which is illustrated below:

ITU-IMT2020 roadmap crop

Source: ITU

The draft technical performance requirements report provides technical definitions and performance specifications in each of the following categories:

  • Peak data rate
  • Peak spectral efficiency (bits per hertz of spectrum)
  • User experience data rate
  • 5th percentile user spectral efficiency
  • Average spectral efficiency
  • Area traffic capacity
  • Latency
  • Connection density
  • Energy efficiency
  • Reliability
  • Mobility
  • Mobility interruption time
  • Bandwidth

You’ll find a good overview of the ITU’s draft performance requirements in an article by Sebastian Anthony entitled, “5G Specs Announced: “20 Gbps download, 1 ms latency, 1M device per square km,” at the following link:

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/02/5g-imt-2020-specs/?utm_source=howtogeek&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

You can download the ITU’s draft report, entitled “DRAFT NEW REPORT ITU-R [IMT-2020 TECH PERF REQ] – Minimum requirements related to technical performance for IMT-2020 radio interface(s),” at the following link:

https://www.itu.int/md/R15-SG05-C-0040/en

In the ITU standardization process diagram, above, you can see that their final standardization documents will not be available until 2019 – 2020.

2. Industry 5G activities

Meanwhile, the wireless telecommunications industry isn’t waiting for the ITU to finalize IMT-2020 before developing and testing 5G technologies and making initial 5G deployments.

3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)

In February 2017, the organization 5G Americas summarized the work by 3GPP as follows:

“As the name implies the IMT-2020 process is targeted to define requirements, accept technology proposals, evaluate the proposals and certify those that meet the IMT-2020 requirements, all by the 2020 timeframe. This however, requires that 3GPP start now on discussing technologies and system architectures that will be needed to meet the IMT-2020 requirements. 3GPP has done just that by defining a two phased 5G work program starting with study items in Rel-14 followed by two releases of normative specs spanning Rel-15 and Rel-16 with the goal being that Rel-16 includes everything needed to meet IMT-2020 requirements and that it will be completed in time for submission to the IMT-2020 process for certification.”

The 2016 3GPP timeline for development of technologies and system architectures for 5G is shown below.

3GGP roadmap 2016

Source: 3GPP / 5G Americas White Paper

Details are presented in the 3GPP / 5G Americas white paper, “Wireless Technology Evolution Towards 5G: 3GPP Releases 13 to Release 15 and Beyond,” which you can download at the following link:

http://www.5gamericas.org/files/6814/8718/2308/3GPP_Rel_13_15_Final_to_Upload_2.14.17_AB.pdf

Additional details are in a February 2017 3GPP presentation, “Status and Progress on Mobile Critical Communications Standards,” which you can download here:

http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Information/presentations/Presentations_2017/CCE-2017-3GPP-06.pdf

In this presentation, you’ll find the following diagram that illustrates the many functional components that will be part of 5G service. The “Future IMT” in the pyramid below is the ITU’s IMT-2020.

ITU 5G functions

Source: 3GPP presentation

AT&T and Verizon plan initial deployments of 5G technology

In November 2016, AT&T and Verizon indicated that their initial deployment of 5G technologies would be in fixed wireless broadband services. In this deployment concept, a 5G wireless cell would replace IEEE 802.11 wireless or wired routers in a small coverage area (i.e., a home or office) and connect to a wired / fiber terrestrial broadband system. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam referred to this deployment concept as “wireless fiber.” You’ll find more information on these initial 5G deployment plans in the article, “Verizon and AT&T Prepare to Bring 5G to Market,” on the IEEE Spectrum website at the following link:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/wireless/verizon-and-att-prepare-to-bring-5g-to-market

Under Verizon’s current wireless network densification efforts, additional 4G nodes are being added to better support high-traffic areas. These nodes are closely spaced (likely 500 – 1,000 meters apart) and also may be able to support early demonstrations of a commercial 5G system.

Verizon officials previously has talked about an initial launch of 5G service in 2017, but also have cautioned investors that this may not occur until 2018.

DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge 2 (SC2)

In my 6 June 2016 post, I reported on SC2, which eventually could benefit 5G service by:

“…developing a new wireless paradigm of collaborative, local, real-time decision-making where radio networks will autonomously collaborate and reason about how to share the RF (radio frequency) spectrum.”

SC2 is continuing into 2019.  Fourteen teams have qualified for Phase 3 of the competition, which will culminate in the Spectrum Collaboration Challenge Championship Event, which will be held on 23 October 2019 in conjunction with the 2019 Mobile World Congress in Los Angeles, CA.  You can follow SC2 news here:

https://www.spectrumcollaborationchallenge.com/media/

If SC2 is successful and can be implemented commercially, it would enable more efficient use of the RF bandwidth assigned for use by 5G systems.

3. Conclusion

Verizon’s and AT&T’s plans for early deployment of a subset of 5G capabilities are symptomatic of an industry in which the individual players are trying hard to position themselves for a future commercial advantage as 5G moves into the mainstream of wireless communications. This commercial momentum is outpacing ITU’s schedule for completing IMT-2020. The recently released draft technical performance requirements provide a more concrete (interim) definition of 5G that should remove some uncertainty for the industry.

3 April 2019 Update:  Verizon became the first wireless carrier to deliver 5G service in the U.S.

Verizon reported that it turned on its 5G networks in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis today, becoming the first wireless carrier to deliver 5G service to customers with compatible wireless devices in selected urban areas.  Other U.S. wireless carriers, including AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile US, have announced that they plan to start delivering 5G service later in 2019.