Verizon's Shammo: 5G pilot in 2017 is all about fixed wireless, not mobility

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) CFO Fran Shammo reiterated the company's commitment to be the first in the U.S. to roll out 5G wireless technology and made it clear that its initial pilot starting in 2017 is all about fixed wireless – not mobility. 

"Currently, we're testing 5G technologies this year and we aim to have an initial fixed wireless pilot starting in 2017, and I want to reiterate that this is a fixed wireless, which is really one of the first cases that we see, it's really not about mobile, it's really around fixed wireless," Shammo said during an earnings conference call with analysts.

"We're helping the industry to adopt the rules on 5G deployment, including the opening of the spectrum bands above the 24 GHz and we're working with the FCC and as you know, with XO we have the ability for an option to buy around the 28 GHz, which is currently how we're doing our testing right now," he said.

Indeed, Verizon and its partners have been applying for temporary experimental licenses to conduct 28 GHz tests in markets across the country. Last month, Verizon filed paperwork with the FCC to get special temporary authority (STA) to test equipment with vendors like Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Intel, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Samsung in the 28 GHz band.  

Shammo described Verizon's current work as doing sandboxing and working through innovation centers, as well as with its 5G technology forum partners. He added that people should keep in mind that 5G is not a replacement technology to 4G LTE. "It really is all about high-speed video delivery over a wireless network in a very, very efficient way. You should think about 5G, again like we did with LTE, where you see those four to five incremental cost decreases when delivering that video, that's similar to what we will see in the 5G environment."

The 28 GHz band has not gone without controversy, however. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has strongly urged both the mobile and satellite industries to work out acceptable sharing arrangements.   

Verizon has said it supports efforts to seek a solution that would permit satellite operators and terrestrial mobile services to coexist in the 28 GHz band. But last week, it urged the FCC to refrain from acting on a ViaSat petition until it has considered the impact of existing and future fixed satellite service (FSS) earth station operations on the new the flexible-use services it proposes to authorize in the 28 GHz band.

Verizon is one of the participants in this week's Brooklyn 5G Summit, a third-annual event co-hosted by Nokia and NYU Wireless. Researchers at NYU Wireless have conduced pioneering research into millimeter wave spectrum, proving it can add as much as 1,000x capacity over LTE and 10 to 100x download speeds.

For more:
- listen to the earnings call

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