Verizon took the wraps off its 5G-branded fixed wireless internet service, unveiling the service’s target market, pricing and launch details.
Here are the particulars:
Service will be branded “Verizon 5G Home.”
Available Oct. 1 in “parts” of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Interested customers can sign up at FirstOn5G.com to become a “First On 5G” customer.
Service is free for three months then $50 per month for customers with Verizon wireless service or $70 per month for those without. Taxes, fees, installation and equipment costs are included in that price, and customers can cancel service at any time.
Customers “should expect typical network speeds around 300 Mbps and, depending on location, peak speeds of nearly 1 Gig, with no data caps,” Verizon said.
The service is directly targeted at incumbent cable providers Comcast and Charter Communications in those cities: “Verizon 5G Home is ideal for consumers looking to ‘cut the cord’ or upgrade from their current cable service,” Verizon said.
Verizon is offering three months of free YouTube TV and also either a free Apple TV 4K (which starts at a retail price of $180) or a free Google Chromecast Ultra (which starts at a retail price of $70) device at installation.
Customers can purchase “new 5G mobile devices as soon as they hit the market,” Verizon said.
Customers get “dedicated 5G expert representatives providing world-class support,” Verizon said.
Interestingly, Verizon isn’t hiding from the fact that its initial fixed wireless internet service uses the company’s proprietary 5GTF standard and not the official 3GPP 5G standard. As a result, Verizon said it would upgrade “Verizon 5G Home” customers’ equipment to the 3GPP standard next year at no charge.
“Our 5G Home service is built on our proprietary 5G TF standard; we are able to deliver results and a 5G network faster than waiting for the formal 3GPP 5G NR standard to be incorporated into network equipment, devices, chipsets and software,” Verizon said. “As our 5G technology partners bring that hardware, software, chipsets and devices to market on the 3GPP 5G NR standard, we'll upgrade First On 5G Members to that equipment at no charge. When new network equipment is available and introduced, we’ll expand our 5G broadband internet coverage area quickly and bring 5G to additional cities.fixed wireless service.”
Verizon’s announcement essentially erases the last few remaining questions around its initial 5G launch plans. Specifically, the company disclosed the price it would charge for the service as well as its video strategy, and also directly addressed the company’s decision to develop its own proprietary standard for the service rather than waiting for the 3GPP’s 5G standard, and how it would handle that transition.
The company also make it clear that users would not be able to install their own equipment for the service, and that Verizon would instead have to pay technicians to install receivers and modems in users’ homes. Verizon had been working to develop equipment that users themselves could install on the outside of their window in order to receive a 5G signal, but apparently that equipment was deemed not ready for commercial deployment. Verizon executives, though, have said the company still hopes to reach a point at which customers can install their own receivers and modems; such an approach would reduce Verizon’s deployment costs by eliminating the need for the company to pay for technicians to visit each customers’ home or office to obtain the service.
Further, Verizon’s promise of average speeds of 300 Mbps is far below the company’s initial goal of 1 Gpbs. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam in January said “we’re very comfortable with being able to deliver a Gigabit of service to everyone that we’re providing service to,” when the company launches its 5G fixed wireless service. But Verizon today said that 1 Gbps would be a peak speed.
Indeed, an average of 300 Mbps isn’t much faster than the average speeds provided by fixed wireless startup Starry, which offers a virtually identical service based on the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard. Starry sells its fixed wireless service for $50 per month and promises average speeds of 200 Mbps without a cap.