Verizon goes mobile with its fixed 5G service for Washington, D.C., demo

Verizon took its fixed wireless service mobile in Washington, D.C. (Verizon)

Verizon took its fixed 5G service mobile by putting the service onto a bus outside the nation’s capital. The effort was part of a demonstration of the network technology for lawmakers.

Specifically, Verizon’s John O'Malley explained that Verizon’s 5G demonstration used the company’s precommercial 5GTF equipment and transmitted a signal from a mobile cell site to the company’s bus. Although the equipment itself was mobile, O’Malley said the demonstration actually showed off Verizon’s fixed wireless services.

The demonstration was part of the second annual “5G Caucus” event in Washington, D.C. Representatives Susan Brooks and Debbie Dingell created the event to educate lawmakers about 5G technology. Entities on hand at this year’s event included Verizon, Samsung, Qualcomm, CTIA and others.

Not surprisingly, the nation’s wireless lobbying group, CTIA, crowed of the event:

Verizon and the rest of the nation’s major wireless network operators are rushing to launch 5G services as soon as later this year. Verizon, for its part, has promised to launch fixed 5G services in four cities later this year. The company developed the 5GTF standard with partners Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Cisco, in an effort to get a lead in launching next-generation wireless networks. 5G NR is the industry standard ratified by 3GPP late last year, and Verizon says that much of its 5GTF work ultimately became part of the standard.

Verizon has said, though, that the 5G fixed wireless networks it launches this year may incorporate standards-based as well as prestandard equipment.

Verizon’s fixed 5G service is designed to beam an internet signal into a home, office or other stationary location. Mobile 5G services, on the other hand, are designed for smartphones and other portable devices. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are all moving forward with mobile 5G deployments, and Verizon has said its own mobile 5G deployment will occur roughly six months after its fixed 5G deployments start.

Beyond the technology, the 5G Caucus event in Washington likely also provided the wireless industry a forum to push its regulatory issues. Specifically, CTIA, carriers and others have been clamoring for the FCC to release more licensed spectrum, particularly in the millimeter wave bands. In response, the FCC is planning the first of a number of millimeter wave spectrum auctions starting in November.

The wireless industry generally is also pushing the FCC and other regulators to ease infrastructure deployment regulations. Specifically, carriers and others argue that cities and states are making it difficult for them to quickly and cheaply install new small cells and other network infrastructure. In response, the FCC has said it will consider rules preventing cities and other municipalities from imposing what critics say are excessive fees and lengthy permitting processes.