Last fall Verizon announced their plans to start testing 5G connection speeds in 2016 with a goal of deploying their 5G network by 2020. Verizon thinks this timeline will put them on track to be the first U.S. carrier to offer this capability. During their fourth quarter financial results conference call this past week, chief financial officer Fran Shammo repeated the vow and said Verizon is on track to commence 5G trials during 2016 in San Francisco, California and in Waltham, Massachusetts using some sandbox facilities they have available.
In the course of his comments on 5G, Shammo also indicated the carrier may see the 5G network as helping to power more than consumer’s mobile devices. Shammo mentioned the 5G capability “may be about other use cases” and most believe this alludes to the Internet of Things (IoT). Verizon is already pulling in $200 million in revenue from devices and sensors connected to their network. The company is also pushing on the FCC to allow higher frequencies for 5G networks which would allow many more connections, a feature that will be needed if additional devices are expected to tap into the 5G airwaves.
Other parts of the world are seeing active development on 5G and are on similar timelines. NTT DoCoMo in Japan is hoping to have their 5G network running in time for the Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo in 2020. SK Telecom is also working on their 5G network and have an even more aggressive schedule as they hope to have it up and running for the 2018 Winter Olympics.